On Sunday, after Braves starter Sean Newcomb‘s past tweets containing hateful language were discovered, the same was done for Nationals shortstop Trea Turner. As Craig noted yesterday, those tweets mostly contained homophobic slurs but also contained a racially-insensitive quote from a movie.
While Newcomb apologized, his apology didn’t acknowledge the people most affected by his language choices and he used the cliche “I don’t mean to offend anybody,” which is irrelevant. Turner, on the other hand, put on a clinic when it comes to making a good apology. Per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, Turner apologized to the LGBT, African-American, and special needs communities. Also, per Janes, Turner said, “It’s not when I said those things. It’s that I said them at all.”
When Turner and Newcomb’s — and Josh Hader‘s — offensive tweets turned up, many people were quick to make excuses for them, saying they were teenagers when the tweets were published. Turner showed exactly why that excuse doesn’t fly, acknowledging that he never should have used that language in the first place.
MASN’s Dan Kolko reports that manager Dave Martinez, who was born to Puerto Rican parents, spoke to Turner. He believes Turner was sincere and apologetic, saying, “He’s a good kid. I told him I’ll help him out any way I can. … But I told him, ‘You hurt people. Real people.'”
Martinez also succinctly drilled to the core of the issue, which is that baseball fans from marginalized communities were hurt. The hordes of people quick to excuse Turner, Newcomb, and Hader’s language never seemed to have any ounce of empathy for fans from marginalized groups.
Yesterday, Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post published an excellent article in which he spoke to members of those marginalized communities about Turner’s language. Kelly Wallace of Expanded Roster said, “Honestly, being a queer sports fan, you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop every time you invest in someone.” Jenn Rubenstein, who has been pledging money to LGBTQ community organizations since Daniel Murphy joined the Nationals (recall that Murphy has issues with the gay “lifestyle”), said, “It feels like an actual gut-punch. There’s an actual, visceral response, and you’re trying not to cry.”
Kudos to Turner, as well as Martinez and Svrluga, for acknowledging the people most affected by Turner’s words and not moving to minimize or ignore the impact, as was done for Newcomb and Hader. Hopefully, if other players’ hateful tweets are dug up, they take their cue from Turner when they have to figuratively step up to the plate.