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.

President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less

Two weeks ago, we watched a pro-Trump mob storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the results of a U.S. election and keep Donald Trump in power. And among those insurrectionists were well-known adherents of QAnon, nearly every image of the crowd shows people wearing Q gear or carrying Q flags, and some of the more frightening elements we saw tie directly into QAnon beliefs.

Since hints of it first started showing up in social media comments several years ago, I've been intrigued—and endlessly frustrated—by the phenomenon of QAnon. At first, it was just a few fringey whacko conspiracy theorists I could easily roll my eyes at and ignore, but as I started seeing elements of it show up more and more frequently from more and more people, alarm bells started ringing.

Holy crap, there are a lot of people who actually believe this stuff.

Eventually, it got personal. A QAnon adherent on Twitter kept commenting on my tweets, pushing bizarro Q ideas on many of my posts. The account didn't use a real name, but the profile was classic QAnon, complete with the #WWG1WGA. ("Where we go one, we go all"—a QAnon rallying cry.) I thought it might be a bot, so I blocked them. Later, I discovered that it was actually one of my own extended family members.

Holy crap, I actually know people who actually believe this stuff.

Keep Reading Show less
via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

Keep Reading Show less