Back in 2013, years before everything would become “literally Hitler,” Boston Red Sox star J.D. Martinez posted a photo on Instagram to show his support for the Second Amendment.
Now he’s been forced to apologize for the 5-year-old post, because it contained a photo of Adolf Hitler and a fake quote.
The photo featured an alleged quote from Hitler saying: “To conquer a nation, First disarm it’s [sic] citizens.” The photo has been used to suggest that taking away lawful gun owner’s guns — as some gun-control advocates want — would lead to a dictatorship.
And Martinez knows a thing or two about dictators, as his family fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
He captioned his Instagram post with: “This is why I always stay strapped! #the truth.”
Martinez is now 31, meaning that he was 26 when he made the post. He also played for the Houston Astros at the time. So, a 26-year-old Texan saw a photo that conformed to his beliefs about gun rights and shared it without fact-checking to see if the quote was real. Now he’s being attacked.
Make no mistake, this is not about him sharing a photo of Hitler. This is about a star player — who happens to be Cuban — in a liberal city, not toeing the progressive line on gun control.
"I don't want this distraction," Martinez said. "You guys are talking about something that happened six years ago. I posted it and that's why I'm out here talking about it, but I'm worried about a championship.”
We’ve entered this new age where old social media posts — even one-off posts that have nothing to do with baseball and show no pattern of current behavior or beliefs — are being used against players.
What Martinez was attacked for was even less than what Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader was (wrongly) punished for. Hader had posted stupid, homophobic, and racist tweets as a teenager. There’s no evidence he still feels that way and his teammates defended him. Still, he was punished for the old tweets, forced to apologize, and sent to “sensitivity training.”