Many teens and their parents ought to heed a warning that three Major League Baseball players are now learning. Comments tweeted or posted on social media can last a very long time.
In July, Atlanta pitcher Sean Newcomb, Washington shortstop Trea Turner and Milwaukee reliever Josh Hader were called out for tweeting racist, sexist or homophobic tweets several years ago.
All three have apologized, as they should, but Turner’s comments might be the most telling. He should not have said it in the first place. And the comments will tend to stick to him for a while.
“It’s not when I said the things I said. It’s that I said them at all,” said the 25-year-old Turner, whose tweets were in 2011 and 2012 when he was in college. “That’s a clear learning point from this to make sure that anybody is aware of what they’re saying at all times. No matter how you use it or what context you think you are using it in, words hurt. It’s wrong and inexcusable for what I said.”
Newcomb’s and Hader’s comments were made when they were teens.
Once out on social media, even comments that are supposed to be private can be found years after they were made, as the three players are finding out.
And there will be consequences, not only for athletes or other personalities, but for everyone. Potential employers have increasingly checked out candidates.
According to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. Three in 10 employers have someone dedicated to solely getting the scoop on your online persona, according to the survey.
Deleted tweets, private messages — just about anything — can be unearthed these days. For teens, the potential dangers of that are endless, from college admissions to rookie job interviews.
“Last year, there was a widely reported case of 10 students who had been accepted to Harvard who had those acceptances rescinded because of racist social media posts. The posts were supposedly in a private chat,” psychologist Shane Owens, who treats adolescents, college students and young adults in New York, recently told the Associated Press. “Most kids are not able to appreciate the long-term consequences of their actions.”
Our advice would be not to put out anything on social media that you would not want the entire world to see because there is a chance that could happen. And there will be consequences.
• Dave Mathews