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Pudge Rodriguez recruited for a Puerto Rico statehood delegation

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Puerto Rico is the largest and most populous U.S. territory. It’s about the size of Connecticut, in fact, population-wise. It’s had a unique status since being ceded to the United States after the Spanish-American War and since a series of laws which were enacted to govern its relationship to the U.S. in the ensuing years.

In recent decades there has been considerable debate about Puerto Rico becoming a state. Given the many pros and many cons of statehood, there is nothing close to an actual consensus on the matter, with the old saying going “if you ask two Puerto Ricans about statehood, you’ll get three opinions.” There have been numerous referenda on the matter. In one, “none of the above” beat “statehood,” “status quo” and “independence.” So you see how that goes.

The most recent referendum took place last month. It went 97% in favor of statehood. The catch: there was a 23% turnout due to the pro-status quo party boycotting the thing. So you see how that goes, part 2.

A win is a win, however, and the governor of Puerto Rico — a big pro-statehood guy — is forming a delegation to go to Washington to petition Congress to grant the island statehood. We all know someone on the delegation:

Puerto Rico’s governor has recruited retired baseball star Ivan Rodriguez to help argue for statehood for the United States territory. Ricardo Rossello on Monday appointed the Hall of Famer to a commission charged with going to the U.S. Congress to demand statehood.

As I noted above, the pros and cons of statehood are complicated. A lot of involves the federal benefits Puerto Ricans can receive if statehood is granted. A lot of it involves taxes which will leveled and business incentives which could disappear if it’s granted. There are considerations with debt that Puerto Rico has incurred from time to time. There are, obviously, civil rights and anti-colonialism arguments involved as well. The United States passed a law a few years back to create an oversight board to deal with Puerto Rico’s debt and that too has led to controversy and complication. It’s all heady stuff which could probably occupy a team of political science PhDs for several careers.

I have no idea how well-versed Pudge is on all of that, but if he isn’t yet up to speed I’m sure he can . . . catch on quickly.

Brewers reliever Josh Hader in hot water over racist, homophobic tweets from 2011-12

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Brewers reliever Josh Hader didn’t have a good night. He gave up four hits and a three-run homer to put the National League in a big hole in the All-Star Game. That’s the kind of thing that has to stick with you.

Oh, and he was also revealed to be a SUPER BIG racist, misogynist and homophobe. That’s gonna stick with him too, and may land him in trouble with Major League Baseball.

Someone decided to dig through Hader’s Twitter history this evening and when they did they found some ugly, ugly stuff in there from back in 2011-12.* Hader was found to have used the n-word, liberally. He said “I hate gay people.” He said some super misogynistic stuff about wanting a woman who will cook and clean for him, among other pretty damn vile things. There were multiple references to cocaine. He said “I’ll murder your family” to one person and made some total non-sequitur tweet simply saying “KKK.” You name a social media etiquette line that one can cross and Hader not only crossed it, but he totally and gleefully trampled over. If you want to see that vile stuff you can see it over at The Big Lead, which screen-capped it. I presume Hader has deleted them by now.

The news of Hader’s old, unearthed tweets bubbled out as the All-Star Game was going on, and reporters met Hader in the locker room right afterward for comment. Hader owned up to them — there was no “I was hacked” excuses offered here — saying that the tweets were a sign of immaturity when he was 17 years-old. He said he plans to apologize to his teammates, saying they don’t reflect on him as a person now. His quote: “No excuses. I was dumb and stupid.” Which, well, yes, obviously.

That may not be the end of it, however:

These tweets are old, Hader may be a different person now and people can do a lot of growing up between 17 and 24. But Major League Baseball is not happy tonight, I can assure you, that an ugly social media incident blew up during its biggest showcase of the regular season.

Will Hader be disciplined? Hard to say, given that Hader wasn’t even drafted yet when those tweets were made and given that MLB’s social media policy was not even in place then. But it would not shock me at all if more comes of this than Hader merely apologizing to his teammates. Stay tuned.

*There are several putative Hader tweets floating around Twitter right now of a more recent vintage. Hader has locked his account, however, and they cannot be confirmed, and many people who were able to access his account before it was locked said those tweets were not there before, with the suggestion that they were Photoshopped. We are neither in the position to — nor do we have the inclination to — verify which of Hader’s tweets are legitimate and which are fabricated. We know, however, that there is more than ample, awful stuff that he has owned up to and we’ll leave it at that for now.