Josh Hader, like so many athletes before him, followed a predictably similar path this week.
During this week’s All-Star game, Hader’s old tweets resurfaced. They were homophobic, racist and misogynistic. Offensive on all levels across the board. He did apologize in the moment, of course, but that’s because realistically he had no other choice. He did not, however, apologize to the communities affected by these comments on a regular basis. Instead he shed a few tears, and that was more than enough for his teammates.
It’s more than enough for most fans too. After all, Hader throws a ball well and helps his baseball team win games. That’s why Saturday night when he made his first appearance since the All-Star game, fans predictably gave him a standing ovation. And per ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle, Hader heard it loud and clear.
“[I was] focusing on my job, not trying to let anything in the past haunt me, and not be a distraction. This is what I love to do, and it helps me clear my mind. That’s really what I did today.”
And once more, the lefty would reiterate the message he’s been reciting all week long.
“It means a lot. Having Milwaukee’s support, just knowing that they know my true character. Just forgiving me for my past, because that’s not who I am today.”
Anyone can say “that’s not who I am today” as often as they’d like, but showing it is a different matter entirely. Teammates stick up for one another regardless of the crappy things they say or do all the time. That doesn’t make it okay. In the wake of all this, there hasn’t been one mention of the marginalized communities these comments impact. Not even a cursory mention of donating to charity. Nothing like that. Instead it’s all in the past; young and stupid; not who I am today.
It’s simply every cliche in the book.
“I’m not expecting that everybody is going to forgive me early. But I just hope that people see my true character today, and I hope that I can show them that that’s not who I was,” Hader adds.
And Hader CAN show them. He has all of the power to do so. But he has to start putting in the effort.