Today's professional athletes are facing unprecedented blowback over racist and homophobic tweets they sent as teens, the AP's Cliff Brunt reports.
Why it matters: Some teenagers do — and say — stupid things. Now those bad thoughts are preserved forever.
Pro sports are a hotbed of examples:
- Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, now 25, was 18 when he tweeted homophobic slurs and a racially insensitive joke from a movie. He deleted the tweets after they resurfaced and said in his statement, "[T]hose regrettable actions do not reflect my values or who I am."
- Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb was cruising through a near no-hitter Sunday when fans resurfaced offensive tweets from when he was 18. He called reporters back into the clubhouse after the game to apologize, and has been ordered to undergo diversity training.
- Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader will also face diversity training after fans discovered old tweets laced with the n-word halfway through his All Star Game appearance. Nearly a week later, Hader is still in apology mode.
- "Former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen apologized for a series of offensive tweets he sent while in high school that were revealed right before the NFL draft, when the Buffalo Bills selected him seventh overall."
The big picture: This issue goes well beyond the sports world, Axios' Zach Basu notes.
- James Gunn was fired from his role shepherding Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise earlier this month due to offensive tweets.
- Claudia Oshry's "Girl With No Job" show was cancelled by Verizon's Oath earlier this year after a Daily Beast reporter dug up old Twitter posts expressing clear anti-Muslim sentiments.
- Even journalists have had to temper their opinions online at the risk of damaging their own careers.
What's next: "[P]ublicist Lauren Walsh recalls how she dealt with a football player who had offensive Facebook posts years before he prepared for the NFL draft," per Brunt.
- "She went through his whole social media history, taking down any posts that even raised an eyebrow."
- "Scrubbing tweets, Instagram posts and other comments, captions and status updates has grown into a top priority for LW Branding, Walsh’s company that has helped 40 NFL athletes with image control in the past 3 1/2 years."
For the rest of us, from Axios' Sara Fischer: "More users are flocking to ephemeral social media networks, where posts disappear after a certain amount of time, as a result."
- The other side: There's also a media cottage industry of Snapchat screenshots getting people fired.
Be smart: You can no longer share racist and homophobic things online without expecting consequences.