Should athletes be held accountable for their old tweets? Here's a thoughtful answer.

We've all said regrettable things, and sometimes those things come back to haunt us. Among Major League Baseball players, that's been happening a lot lately.

During June's All-Star Game in Washington, D.C., Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Josh Hader became a trending topic on social media, and it didn't have anything to do with the fact that he was getting absolutely pummeled on the field.

No, it was for something else entirely: tweets he sent in his teens.


Among them were references to "white power," several uses of the n-word, and another that simply read, "I hate gay people." After the game, Hader was inundated with questions from reporters about the tweets, and by the following day, he issued an apology. Needless to say, this was probably not how the 24-year-old hoped to remember his first career All-Star Game.

Josh Hader. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

Since then, people have unearthed similarly offensive tweets from Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb and Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner.

It's starting an important conversation about how responsible people should be for things they used to believe or said in the past.

Turner's teammate Sean Doolittle decided to weigh in — where else? — on Twitter.

Doolittle and his wife, Eireann Dolan, have a long history of working with charities and supporting causes they believe in. From supporting the LGBTQ community to sharing Thanksgiving dinner with Syrian refugees, Doolittle and Dolan aren't afraid to speak up for marginalized people.

On Twitter, Doolittle tried to put this current issue in perspective, discussing his personal efforts to create a more inclusive league for players and fans.

He discouraged defenses about how long ago something was said, urging people to stay focused on the content.

At the same time, he's not calling for anybody to be shunned for something said a decade ago — because we all have the opportunity to grow as people every single day.

He also shies away from calls for athletes to stop using social media for fear that something they say will be used to attack them in the future. Instead, he calls on them to find ways to use social media to create a positive impact. If players have said things they no longer believe, Doolittle believes they should delete them as a way to show they've grown.

Some might disagree with Doolittle's assessment, and that's totally fine.

There are surely some people who see this discussion as being overblown, and there are surely some who think that these kinds of actions from the past should define the careers of the those who tweeted them.

Putting that aside, though, this is an opportunity for us to be better people in the present.

Sean Doolittle and Eireann Dolan arrive at the 2018 All-Star Game in Washington, DC. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

I asked Doolittle why he decided to speak out on this topic. He tells me that there's absolutely a personal element involved, given both that he and Dolan have always made an effort to foster inclusivity — as well as the fact that he has close friends and family who've been targeted with the same kind of language used in Hader's, Newcomb's, and Turner's old tweets, and he knows how much it can hurt.

"I didn't want to pile on, but I also didn't want to issue a free pass," he says, continuing:

"I think we have to allow for a demonstration of growth. We can't just bury these guys; this has to be a learning experience so that the next generation of athletes learns not just that it's wrong to use that kind of language, but why it's wrong to use that kind of language. Because every time it's used, even if it's used in jest, it normalizes it. The lesson shouldn't be about making sure we hide mistakes we made in our past, it should be about showing that we've grown from them."

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

The lessons here can be applied far beyond the world of baseball.

I've said a lot of things that I regret in my life. I've been mean, cruel, and hurtful with my words. It's not something I'm proud of, but it's the truth.

While I'd like to think that I've grown a lot since then, and I've tried to put in the work necessary to be the best version of myself today, there's absolutely nothing I can do to change a single one of those regretful moments. Maybe, at the very least, it shouldn't become a barrier to current and future improvement.

Growing beyond our mistakes enough to recognize them and avoid repeating them is important. If you make a mistake — whether that's telling offensive jokes, lashing out at a friend who got on your nerves, or tweeting slurs when you were young — at least try to learn from it. Empathy-fueled growth can take us a long way toward becoming better people.

More

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture