I’ve written about this new blight on the American scene three times since a creep trying to embarrass Milwaukee pitcher Josh Hader tracked down some offensive tweets he made in high school, causing Major league Baseball to sentence him to re-education. Not content with the MLB over-reaction, pompous, social justice warrior thought-control purveyors in the sports media like NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra and Bill Baer declaimed that he must be made an example of, shunned, cooked, and eaten, or something. Hader’s pathetic grovel to the mob was so amusing that two more baseball players were quickly subjected to The Hader Gotcha–that will be the Ethics Alarms label to this poison—with similar results (and more obnoxious virtue-signaling by Calcaterra and Baer). Atlanta Braves starter Sean Newcomb had his Twitter history searched by some resentful Dodger fan while he was pitching a near no-hitter against LA, with the result that Newcomb had to deny that he was a racist and a bigot. Next, some Washington Nationals hater did the same to shortstop Trea Turner, posting old Turner tweets from his college days at North Carolina State University. [The third time I wrote about the phenomenon was in a non-baseball context, when “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn was fired by Disney because a conservative hit man did a twitter dig and found some of his old tweets.]
Isn’t this great? You can be a sad and lonely schlub with a trivial, insignificant, powerless, witless existence, and yet bring a successful, rich, popular baseball player to his metaphorical knees! Just find and publicize some ill-considered, impulsive tweets sent when fame and fortune weren’t even twinkles in the future star’s eye, and the nascent athlete was trying to make do with the under-developed brain of a typical male under the age of 25. Why, it’s even better than dropping rocks on cars as they go under an overpass, or releasing computer viruses! What a rush!
Because Turner, Hader and Newcomb were brought down by the tactic, costing them endorsements, fan popularity and the trust of their team mates, no player is safe. Yesterday the New York Yankees’ starting pitcher Sonny Gray became the latest target. Gray ‘s start against the Baltimore Orioles stunk (again), but the boos that reigned down on him in Yankee Stadium weren’t sufficient punishment: some angry fan decided to do a twitter search. Sure enough, six years ago, Gray tweeted to his friend, Rashun Dixon, whom he played ball with while in the Oakland A’s organization: “@Sir_Peanut 1. You didn’t go to college. 2. You are black. #followdaleaderleaderleader clap clap clap.”
No, I don’t know what it means either, but the fact that Gray tweeted “you are black” to someone who is black obviously means he’s a racist. I’m sure that’s what the NBC Sports bloggers will be writing, as they call for his head on a pike.
Just behind the despicable Hader Gotcha artists who are trying to make this a regular, ugly feature of modern celebrity, the supporting villains are the journalists who report these smears, and the lazy and cowardly MLB executives who rush to avoid their criticism. Here’s Baer, for example:
“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.”
No, I have no empathy at all for anyone so desperate to be victimized that they regard themselves as “hurt” by years-old social media comments intended for a small audience by a then-non public figure, and then demand, through their mouthpieces like Baer, that the author grovel for forgiveness today.
People say and write all sorts of stupid and ugly things on a whim or a brain cramp, in private places, in bars and at parties, in texts and tweets, that are not intended for the public at large. These excesses of language and bad taste should not be a matter of public concern, or media comment. These are not candidates for public office, who require the public’s trust. The Hader Gotcha, like so many other trends emanating from the world of toxic politics, threatens our liberty, our sanity, and our peace of mind. The miscreants here—the malicious tweet-miners, the Thought Policing journalists, and the cowardly executives—are not merely unethical, they are disgusting.
The only way to end this corrosive practice is for the public to support its victims without reservation, and deride the journalists and executives who are encouraging it. Right now, the public is complicit in the unethical tactic of gratuitous personal destruction, because it is allowing it to work.