I don’t pay much attention to professional sports anymore and usually wouldn’t think about commenting on it or writing about it. But I did watch the All Star game at a sports bar with a few guys from my baseball team on Tuesday night…but we left after the dismal showing by Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader. Apparently we missed some baseball after that…and some other fireworks sparked by Mr. Hader.

This post isn’t about baseball…but the business of baseball. The furor around Josh Hader relates to hateful racist, homophobic, and misogynistic tweets he posted seven years ago at the age of seventeen. I am not condoning his behavior but I guess I have to question the reactions from major league baseball.

It is disconcerting that this wasn’t an issue until this past Tuesday. Major league baseball apparently looked the other way because the young man is a talented ball player. He played for three different baseball organizations and it didn’t raise a red flag at any of them? It didn’t prevent him from being drafted in the first place?

Or didn’t major league baseball vet him at all? Or do a background check at all? Right or wrong many employers research a prospective employees use of social media. Nothing came up? Nothing of concern? Or nobody looked? Many companies include statements in their employee handbooks about social media use…including not putting the employer in a bad light. Major league baseball is very conscious of it’s public persona…but they didn’t catch this?

I would think Major League Baseball as a whole and the individual teams would have public relations staff monitoring their players use of social media for just this type of content. I would have thought Mr. Hader’s twitter account would have been cleaned up the minute his signature was affixed to his professional contract.

So now Mr. Hader is going to attend sensitivity training. Seven years after the fact…years after he became a professional athlete. Shouldn’t this have been address during his rookie season? As part of his initial employment agreement or contract?

Professional sports really needs to do a better job on who they recruit and draft for their teams and leagues. Was Mr. Hader’s rants just teenage nonsense or truly a character flaw? One that should have kept him out of sports despite his talent.

Now Mr. Hader has apologized to the team mates and the fans and the league. He will attend sensitivity training. He has the support of many of his team mates and they seem to have forgiven him. His team mates seem surprised by the tweets and are supportive saying that they don’t represent the man they know now. That’s good.

I imagine his twitter account has been cleaned up but for him the damage is already done. The rest of the season is going to be pretty tough for him. And how many other professional athletes spent the better part of this week reviewing their social media accounts?

Now…there was talk that MLB might suspend him for these tweets. And MLB is the organization ordering the sensitivity training for him. I do have an issue with that. Yes he should attend sensitivity training or some form of counseling or guidance. But why does MLB now have the right to punish someone for something that they did before they were part of the organization? The tweets were made a full year before the Baltimore Orioles drafted him. Mr. Hader is at fault for hate speech…but MLB and the three teams that employed him are at fault for not be aware or taking care of this issue over the past seven years.

Or am I barking up the wrong tree? And employers don’t have the right to check the social media usage of employees? But I insure you that they do and it can get a bit uncomfortable.

Added note 7/22/18: One person that I have left out of this discussion…one who has a vested financial interest in Mr. Hader’s success…his agent! What the heck was his agent doing the past seven years?

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