MLB stars in eye of Twitter storm

Reuters
Atlanta Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb apologized on Sunday for racist and homophobic tweets he posted in 2011 and 2012.
Reuters
Reuters

Atlanta Braves starter Sean Newcomb pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday. 

Atlanta Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb apologized on Sunday for racist and homophobic tweets he posted in 2011 and 2012.

Major League Baseball responded by directing Newcomb to undergo diversity training.

Less than two weeks after the Twitter-verse located insensitive remarks that Josh Hader posted when the Milwaukee Brewers reliever was in high school, the same thing occurred involving Newcomb.

With Newcomb in the midst of a no-hit bid that ended with two outs in the ninth inning on Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Twitter user @NatsSquid dug up Newcomb’s old tweets.

According to USA Today Sports, Newcomb was an 18-year-old at Middleboro (Mass) High School when he posted the insensitive comments.

The newspaper reported that one of the tweets containing a racist slur was quoting a lyric from a rap song, “The Motto” by Drake featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga.

Other tweets apparently directed homophobic slurs toward classmates.

When questioned about the tweets postgame on Sunday, Newcomb said, “This is something that obviously can’t be happening. I feel bad about it. I don’t mean to offend anybody. I definitely regret it. ...

“(I) meant nothing by it. I didn’t mean to offend anybody and I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

MLB later issued a statement announcing that Newcomb was being sent to diversity training, the same punishment it issued to Hader. Neither player was suspended.

In a statement on Sunday regarding Newcomb’s old tweets, MLB wrote, “Such inappropriate comments have no place in our game.”

The Braves posted a statement on their Twitter account, “We are aware of the tweets that surfaced after today’s game and have spoken to Sean, who is incredibly remorseful. Regardless of how long ago he posted them, he is aware of the insensitivity and is taking full responsibility.

“We find the tweets hurtful and incredibly disappointing and even though he was 18 or 19 years old when posted, it doesn’t make them any less tolerable. We will work with Sean towards mending the wounds created in our community.”

Newcomb, 25, gave up one hit and one run with one walk and eight strikeouts in a 4-1 win over the Dodgers on Sunday. He improved to 10-5 with a 3.23 ERA in 21 starts. As a rookie last year, Newcomb went 4-9 with a 4.32 ERA in 19 starts.

Later in the day, Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner apologized for racist and homophobic tweets he sent in 2011 and 2012, when he was an 18-year-old freshman at North Carolina State.

Turner, 25, issued a statement through the Nationals: “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.”

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo issued a statement that read: “I have spoken with Trea regarding the tweets that surfaced earlier tonight. 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.”

Turner is batting .265 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs for the disappointing Nationals, who dropped to 52-53 with the loss 0-5 to the Miami Marlins.

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