On Monday, American tennis star Tennys Sandgren pulled off a major upset at the Australian Open. Yet instead of discussing, you know, tennis with the media, the 26-year-old's Twitter feed was naturally the topic of conversation. After all, Sandgren happens to hold right-wing views and has supposed "links" to the alt-right.
A sports reporter asked Sandgren about his "social media output, which includes some political figures who might be considered outside the mainstream," noting that he once re-tweeted Nicholas Fuentes, "who I believe attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville." The reporter also mentioned alt-right reporter and media personality Mike Cernovich being on his "feed" and accused Sandgren of "debating" the conspiracy theory known as "Pizzagate."
Sandgren openly laughed at the reporter's questions. "Look—who you follow on Twitter, I feel like doesn’t matter even a little bit," he said, as transcribed by Deadspin. "What information you see doesn’t dictate what you think or believe and I think it’s crazy to think that, I think it’s crazy to assume that."
"If you watch a news channel you wouldn’t then say that that person who’s watching a news channel thinks everything that that news channel puts out," he continued. "I mean, you can ask me about my beliefs on things, that’s cool. But I think to lump in, just say, 'Well you follow this person,' so then, wow who are you? It’s like, ask me, you can ask me who I am and I’m perfectly fine answering those kinds of questions."
"Do you feel that you support some of the alt-right movement?" asked the reporter.
"No, I don’t," Sandgren answered. "I find some of the content interesting, but no, I don’t. Not at all. No, as a firm Christian, I don’t support things like that, no. I support Christ and following him and that’s what I support."
Some of Sandgren's apparently problematic tweets were first flagged by a Washington Post reporter in August:
In a video posted by the Tennis Channel, one of the featured (apparently outrageous) tweets by Sandgren read, "I just don't know how a country that practices systemic racism elected a black pres, twice."
The horror! Sandgren actually pushed back on the leftist narrative that America is a deeply racist country. Tar and feather him for his Wrongthink, immediately!
Apparently feeling the heat from the fascistic media looking to target him over his views, or mere social media follows, Sandgren scrubbed his Twitter feed of all but one tweet on Tuesday.
But the following day, Sandberg fought back and slammed the media, reading a prepared statement at his post-match presser.
"You seek to put people in these little boxes, so that you can order the world in your already assumed pre-conceived ideas," said Sandberg. "You strip away any individuality for the sake of demonizing by the way of the collective."
"With a handful of follows and some 'likes' Twitter my fate has been sealed in your minds," he continued. "To write an edgy story, to create sensationalist coverage, there are few lengths you wouldn't go to to mark me as the man you desperately want me to be. You would rather perpetuate propaganda machines instead of researching information from a host of angles and perspectives, while being willing to learn, change, and grow."
Sandberg argued that the media's tactics, which clearly work to silence one side of the debate, actually hasten the hell they wish to avoid.
"You dehumanize with pen and paper and turn neighbor against neighbor, in so doing you may actually find you're hastening the hell you wish to avoid, the hell we all wish to avoid," he said.