By Evan Casey
Weeks ago, racist and derogatory tweets from Milwaukee Brewers all-star pitcher Josh Hader were made known to the public. Both the Brewers and Major League Baseball responded to the situation quickly, ordering Hader to take part in sensitivity training. However, some in Milwaukee do not believe this will completely remedy the situation.
Josh Hader, a 24 year-old relief pitcher from Maryland, made multiple racist and homophobic tweets from 2011-2012 that said “KKK,” and “white power lol.” Hader responded quickly, saying “I was young, immature and stupid. There’s no excuses for what was said.” He also said, “It was something that happened when I was 17 years old, and as a child I was immature and obviously did some things that were inexcusable. That doesn’t reflect on who I am as a person today.”
Brewers General Manager David Stearns said that these tweets do not reflect the view of the Brewers organization in any way. “Those of us who have come to know Josh do not believe that these posts are representative of his beliefs,” he said.
However, 7th District Alderman Khalif Rainey did not agree. Rainey brought up the recent Sterling Brown incident that occurred last January, saying that the way Milwaukee citizens and sports fans responded to this specific case, was “troubling.”
“This frankly is an embarrassment to the world,” said Rainey, referring to the thousands of fans who applauded Hader during his first appearance at Miller Park following the incident. “The boisterous manner of standing to show support for Hader is nothing less than a dismissive stance against problems of race affecting an entire community: a community dealing with the effects of hypersegergation, economic disparity and police harassment,” Rainey said in a statement.
Hader’s African American teammates responded quickly as well. Jesus Aguilar tweeted shortly after the incident. “I’m Venezuelan and with the skin color that I have, can tell you that it is a lie. Obviously he’s not racist. He’s a great player and a better person. Great teammate,” said Aguilar.
Brewers veteran Lorenzo Cain spoke with Hader directly after the incident. “He’s young; we all say some crazy stuff when we’re young,” Cain told reporters. “That’s the reason I don’t have social media, things like this. You always get in trouble for things you say when you’re younger.”
Alderman Rainey is hopeful that this incident encourages all across the city of Milwaukee to discuss race relations within their own communities.
“Let us honor the great sports legacy of Milwaukee by having the courage to acknowledge problems being felt in parts of the city and some of the structural problems working against those members of the community,” he said.
The Brewers were contacted for additional comment regarding this story, but did not respond before the story was published.