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How do we judge an athlete after past offensive tweets get exposed?

By Jimmy Traina
July 30, 2018

1. I know what I'm about to do is not allowed on the Internet, but if I'm being honest, I don't know how to feel about this trend of exposing someone (see, Braves pitcher, Sean Newcomb, see Braves shortsop Trea Turner, see Brewers pitcher Josh Hader) for a slew of offensive tweets from several years ago.

I know in this day and age, you have to have an opinion and take a side and do whatever you can to defend your position. But I don't have a position on this because I'm torn.

I do think someone 17 or 18 years old should know better than to tweet hateful and offensive slurs. Unfortunately, kids learn those slurs at a very early age; in most cases when they start going to school. So by the time they are in their late teens, they know very well that using those words is wrong.

I also think, in the case of most of these guys using gay slurs, that they probably didn't even know a gay person when they tweeted their nonsense. Many gay people don't come out until after high school—in part because of how other immature kids will handle such a sensitive subject. That is not an excuse or a justification in any way. I'm simply trying to say it is possible to realize you were a dope for tweeting those things after you get some life experience and meet someone who is gay. Nothing will change a person’s perspective more than developing a relationship with someone who they thought less of.

I also think people at that age can grow and change, so I don’t know how much you hold those old tweets against them. Not that these guys are being punished in any significant way. They’re all surviving just fine. The harshest thing is the public shaming and that may be a good thing so people can see that hateful language will not and should not be tolerated.

I’m also not in the group being targeted by the offensive slurs used by the Josh Haders and Trea Turners and Seth Newcombs, so who am I to opine how those groups should react? Those people have every right to not want to forgive or look past the controversial comments made by the players.

One thing I do have an opinion on is this: People blaming social media and advising people to stay off social media are so wrong. It's not Twitter's fault if you tweet something offensive or stupid. Don't pass the blame. The blame goes to the individual only. Period. End of story.

The other thing I know is that more athletes will be exposed for past tweets and at this point, if that happens to you, you’re an idiot and you have horrible PR/marketing people around you.

2. The other big controversy in baseball over the weekend was Braves announcer Joe Simpson ripping Dodgers players for wearing T-shirts and not jerseys with their names on the back during batting practice. L.A. outfielder Kike Hernandez has the best reaction to Simpson's "get off my lawn" take.

This was also some good banter between Hernandez and Dodgers infielder Justin Turner.

3. Despite state-run Fox News telling him to shut up and dribble, LeBron James has opened a public elementary school today. If you don't have anything but massive respect for this guy, you are so lost.

4. If you missed it over the weekend and need something long to read today, this story about an ex-cop who managed to fix the McDonald's Monopoly game in the late '90s is tremendous.

5. If it's Monday, it's time for whatever video Showtime puts on YouTube from the previous night's Who is America? starring Sacha Baron Cohen. Last night's episode was dominated by Cohen's over-the-top liberal character and it was outstanding.

6. RIP, Nikolai Volkoff. Like the Iron Shiek said on Twitter yesterday, they had legit heat in the early 80s.

7. The latest SI Media Podcast features an interview with Jenn Sterger, who talks about everything she has done from the day Brent Musburger made her famous to today. Sterger talks about her myriad jobs in sports media and the time she tried out to be a WWE superstar. She also discusses how she looks at the Brett Favre controversy through the lens of today's #MeToo movement, what that saga has done to her, and who has and hasn't apologized for it. She also discusses what it's like to be a woman in sports media, her stand-up comedy career, and much more. You can listen to the podcast below or download it on iTunesPlease, please, please subscribe if you haven't already and leave a review.

Traina Thoughts is the best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts right here.And make sure to listen to and subscribe to the SI Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Trainay.

IN CLOSING: With the Browns getting ready for their Hard Knocks debut next week, they HAVE TO sign Dez Bryant.

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