Trea Turner, shortstop for the Washington Nationals, is under fire after old tweets surfaced hours after Washington’s 5-0 loss at Miami. According to CBS Sports, Turner was found to have made “offensive” tweets in 2011 and 2012, when he was still at North Carolina State. The tweets included racially insensitive language and homophobic slurs.
Turner’s tweets resurfaced shortly after Atlanta Braves’ Sean Newcomb was caught in a similar firestorm regarding offensive tweets he also posted as a teenager. According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, a “Nationals-centric Twitter account dug up Newcomb’s old tweets during his no-hit bid. A Braves-centric account then dug up Turner’s tweets in apparent retaliation.”
Washington Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo released a statement regarding Turner’s tweets, apologizing for the offensive content of the tweets and claiming Turner’s comments are “not indicative of how he has conducted himself while part of our team.”
“I have spoken with Trea regarding the tweets that surfaced earlier tonight,” the statement reads. “He understands that his comments – regardless of when they were posted – are inexcusable and is taking full responsibility for his actions. The Nationals organization does not condone discrimination in any form, and his comments in no way reflect the values of our club.” The statement also calls Turner a “model citizen in our clubhouse.”
Turner also issued the following statement Sunday:
“There are no excuses for my insensitive and offensive language on Twitter. I am sincerely sorry for those tweets and apologize wholeheartedly. I believe people who know me understand those regrettable actions do not reflect my values or who I am. But I understand the hurtful nature of such language and am sorry to have brought any negative light to the Nationals organization, myself or the game I love.”
Turner’s tweets, which were posted back in 2011 and 2012, were considered racially charged and homophobic by many offended readers. One tweet called out somebody whose twitter handle is brettaustin_3, stating: “1. Your gay for your last tweet. 2. …….retard strength droopy.”
Another stated: “When the lady at the drive through asks whose the f–got in the back? Oh that would be me.”
The Twittersphere has mixed feelings on Turner’s tweets. Several users brought up the fact that an angry opposing fan went out of their way to dig up the tweets, because they were angry that a different fan did the same to Newcomb. Other users are sick of people taking the time to even dig up these incredibly old tweets in the first place, while others believe that these athletes need to take responsibility for their old, offensive “young” ways. Many people also defended Turner, claiming his tweets weren’t nearly as offensive or disgusting as many people made them out to be.
Tommy TK Kyle wrote: “This old tweet stuff is getting out of hand. First it’s Hader, now it’s Newcomb and Trea Turner. People are just looking to start shit. These guys are wrong, but at the same point these assholes who dig up old tweets to expose these guys from 7+ years ago are assholes as well.”
Others weren’t as defensive of the athlete, claiming that age shouldn’t be an excuse for offensive comments and ignorant behavior.
Chris Ramey wrote: “So Josh Hader, Trea Turner and Sean Newcomb have all now had old tweets resurface that are homophobic, racially insensitive and sexist. How about we stop tweeting things like a bunch of clowns? Don’t hide behind the excuse of ‘I was young and it was a mistake.’ BE BETTER!”
Newcomb’s and Turner’s tweets surfaced less than two weeks after offensive tweets made in 2011 and 2012 by Milwaukee Brewers’ Josh Hader surfaced during the All-Star Game. He was not suspended but must undergo sensitivity training. The MLB has not announced any discipline for Newcomb or Turner.
“I just wanted to apologize for any insensitive material,” Newcomb said, after news of his old tweets spread. “It was a long time ago, six or seven years ago, saying some stupid stuff with friends.
“I know I’ve grown a lot since then. I didn’t mean anything by it. It was just something stupid I did a long time ago, and I didn’t mean anything by it, for sure.”