If you have a teenager on Twitter, now would be a good time to warn them that what they do on there could come back to get them as an adult. No fewer than three successful young Major League Baseball players have learned that lesson the hard way this month. The latest is Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, who faced backlash this week for offensive tweets he sent as an 18-year-old college student in 2011 and 2012. The tweets contained derogatory comments and slurs directed at race, sexual orientation and disabilities.
After Turner and the team put out statements of apology, the 25-year-old player addressed the issue in person with the media. "To the LGBT community, the African-American community, the special needs community, I'm truly sorry for what I said," Turner told reporters. "It's not when I said the things I said, it's that I said them at all...that's a clear learning point from this."
Turner's apology follows similar public statements by Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb and Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader, who each had similar offensive tweets from their teen years recently brought to light. With studies showing parents often don't monitor their kids' social media use, these examples are a warning of the long-term effects of youthful posts. And the phenomenon is not only for celebrities and pro athletes.
Turner hopes his situation will serve as a warning to everyone, especially young people. "Make sure that anybody is aware of what they're saying at all times, no matter how you use it or what context you think you're using it in," he said. "Words hurt."