Tuesday night’s Major League All-Star Game is one Josh Hader will never forget. The Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher was on the mound for just a third of an inning, giving up a tie-breaking three-run homer that briefly put the American League in the lead. But enough about baseball! Hader’s disastrous short-lived appearance on the mound wasn’t close to the worst part of his night. Midway through the game, held at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., some Twitter archaeologists unearthed a treasure trove of offensive tweets in Hader’s archives, and immediately began screencapping and retweeting them. It wasn’t long before Hader’s name was trending — and things quickly went downhill from there.
Many of the tweets are from late 2011 and early 2012, shortly before the Baltimore Orioles selected Hader in the amateur draft. The then-17-year-old – who currently tweets under the moniker “Josh Haderade” – used the n-word repeatedly in reference to himself and others. “I don’t give a damn, i’m a triply n—er, fuck my lungs, fuck my liver!” Hader tweeted on October 25th, 2011. That same month, Hader wrote, “hahahahahah to [sic] bad i’m grounded n—er can’t do shit.” But the racism didn’t stop with the n-word; over the course of five months, Hader tweeted a reference to the “KKK,” a white fist emoji alongside “white power lol” and, in response to someone who tweeted “i hate all the black people,” Hader wrote, “lmao i tried to tell her about em she just laugh at me.”
Hader also tweeted an assortment of homophobic and sexist comments, from “I hate gay people” and “gay people freak me out,” to “Need a bitch who can fuck, cook, and clean right.” Hader’s fondness for calling women “hoes” is unlikely to rattle his current girlfriend, Maria Macias — as many users pointed out, Macias has her own Twitter history, which is chock full of tweets about “faggots,” to tidy up.
Online outrage burns so fast and hot, that word about Hader’s hateful Twitter history spread around the stadium before it was Hader’s turn at the mound. Baseball fans who were watching the game at home live-tweeted the reactions of attendees and Hader’s fellow players, who were seen on the telecast looking at their phones with wide eyes and mouths agape. There were numerous reports of fans taking off their Hader jerseys and turning them inside out, and according to MLB and Yahoo! Sports columnist Jeff Passan, “Some members of Josh Hader’s family, wearing his All-Star replica jersey, have taken them off and been given generic jerseys without his name on the back.” Yikes.
Once Hader learned that his old tweets had come back to haunt him, he did what he could to shut down the controversy, locking his account to prevent further retweets – a fairly predictable and pointless exercise when everyone knows screenshots last forever. The reaction from fans on social media was also predictable – a mixture of indignant, righteous outrage from those on the left and a chorus of the usual excuses – “he was a teenager!” “It was seven years ago!” and “people need to stop being such sensitive snowflakes!” – from the right.
After the game, Hader told reporters that he was “ready for any consequences for what happened seven years ago.”
“As a child I was immature,” Hader said, as if using the n-word is just another part of growing up. “I said some things that are inexcusable. …. I’m deeply sorry for what I said and what’s been going on. It doesn’t reflect any of my beliefs now.” And his beliefs then?
“Being 17 years old, you make stupid decisions and mistakes,” Hader explained. “I was in high school. We’re still learning who we are in high school. You live and you learn.”
But has he? Although Hader said that he did not “vividly” remember many of the offensive tweets, when he was asked about his repeated use of the n-word, he was quick to offer an explanation only racist white people would find reasonable.
“I’m sure it’s some rap lyrics,” Hader said.
By this morning, both Hader and his girlfriend had deleted their Twitter accounts. It’s unclear if Major League Baseball plans to discipline him.