Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Kopech is latest baseball player to apologize for offensive tweets, pointing to larger problem around game

Alex Reimer
August 24, 2018 - 11:11 am

Ex-Red Sox prospect and current White Sox flamethrower Michael Kopech is the latest baseball player to apologize for resurfaced offensive tweets he wrote in his younger years. This is a troubling trend. 

Kopech, who made his Major League debut with the White Sox Tuesday, said the anti-gay and racist messages don’t reflect who he is. One of the now-deleted missives included the N-word. 

"I had to delete some stuff," he said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. "Things I said that were immature and inappropriate. I used some poor language in there. Obviously, I'm trying to be looked at as a role model and the last thing I want to do is have some kid look at what I'm saying and take it the wrong way.

"It's unfortunate that I was ever at that point mentally, but it's not who I am now. Yeah, I cleaned some tweets up and tried to get rid of them. But, obviously, people saw them. It's not who I am now and it's not who I want to be. It was something I did in high school, and with everything I've gone through in pro ball the last five seasons I feel like a big part of my career was maturing. Hate to see it, but it's not who I am anymore.”

The Red Sox traded Kopech to the White Sox in 2016 as part of the Chris Sale trade. Kopech, 22, is one of the highest-ranked prospects in baseball, featuring a fastball that routinely touches 100 mph. He struck out four batters in two innings during his big league debut, which was shortened due to rain.

Several baseball players have recently addressed old homophobic, racist, or sexist tweets they sent during their high school and college years. In the past month, Brewers reliever Josh Hader, Nationals third baseman Trae Turner and Braves hurler Sean Newcomb have all issued apologies for their ignorance.

While players shouldn’t be defined by tweets they sent during their formative years, the slurs aren’t meaningless, either. They’re a reminder of the casual homophobia and bigotry that’s still regularly part of people's vernacular. Speaking of which, while Kopech addressed his derogative tweets on the South Side of Chicago, new Cubs second baseman Daniel Murphy was speaking about his previous anti-gay statements on the north side of the city. In 2015, Murphy said he disagrees with MLB Ambassador of Inclusion Billy Bean's gay "lifestyle."

When Murphy was asked to address gay Cubs fans who may feel uncomfortable with his signing, he said, "Oh dear," and didn't expound on his previous comments. Murphy did talk about his newfound friendship with Bean, as if that expunges his previous words from the record. 

The average MLB viewer is 57 years old, according to Sports Business Journal. As a result, the league is desperately trying to attract younger and more diverse fans. These kinds of stories don't help. The apologies are fine, but those who have spouted offensive language should solely be judged on their actions going forward.