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J.D. Martinez was foolish to share Hitler meme on Instagram to make gun rights argument

Alex Reimer
August 28, 2018 - 12:24 pm

J.D. Martinez has learned a valuable lesson this week. When making a political point, it’s best to leave Adolf Hitler and the Nazis out of it.

The Red Sox slugger is being criticized for an Instagram photo he posted in 2013 of Hitler giving a Nazi salute next to the text, “To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.” 

Beneath it, Martinez added his endorsement for gun rights. “This is why I will always stay strapped. #TheTruth.”

Martinez was 25 years old at the time and entering his third professional season. 

As the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley explained in his excellent column on the topic, inserting Hitler into any modern political debate often trivializes the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. Even worse, in the context of the gun control debate, Martinez’s post is inferring the Third Reich could’ve been contained if German citizens, including Jewish people, owned more guns. 

On top of that, there’s no record of Hitler making those remarks. The closest statement attributed to Hitler about the subject of firearm confiscation came in the 1940s, when he said “the most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered eastern peoples to have arms,” as Buckley notes.

In addition to the Hitler meme, Martinez posted a controversial image on Election Day 2012. “Obama will grab the early lead Tuesday, until the Republicans get off from work,” the message reads. 

Several fledging baseball stars, including Josh Holder, Trae Turner, Sean Newcomb and Michael Kopech, have come under fire for old homophobic and racist tweets from their teenage years. While Martinez’s post isn’t hateful, the choice to invoke Hitler is distasteful. You can support gun ownership without bringing unattributable Hitler quotes into the discussion.