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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.

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The Cubs' first trip to the World Series in 71 years includes a bit of unexpected history.

Dexter Fowler to be the first black man to play a World Series game as a member of the Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs will face off against Cleveland on Tuesday, Oct.  25, 2016, and in doing so are set to make history in a way that sports fans and casual observers alike can appreciate.

It's been a long time since the Chicago Cubs made it to the World Series — 71 years, to be exact. For that reason alone, the team's 2016 season is one for the history books. The Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 to advance to their first World Series since the 1945 season.

But there's another reason to celebrate their victory, one that has to do with just how much has changed in the past 71 years.


The Cubs celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series on Oct. 22, 2016. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

The last time the Cubs played in the World Series, baseball was still two years away from Jackie Robinson's history-making Major League Baseball debut.

A legend, a hero, and a true trailblazer, Robinson became the first black athlete to play Major League Baseball in 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. That year, Robinson was named Rookie of the Year; two seasons later, he was named National League MVP; in 1955, he won his one and only World Series championship.

Robinson is seen here in a 1951 photograph. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

On Oct. 25, Cubs center fielder and lead-off hitter Dexter Fowler will step into the batters' box for the first pitch of the 2016 World Series.

Fowler, who is black, will not only be the first member of the Cubs to step up to the plate in the team's first World Series appearance in 71 years, but he will be the first black man to do so in a Cubs uniform.

Fowler takes batting practice before a 2015 game. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images.

Sportswriter Rany Jazayerli was one of the first people to have made the connection, posting the observation to his Twitter account:

The tweet caught Fowler's attention. Clearly, this bit of history, as delayed as it may be, means a lot to him.

Pretty cool, right? In the past, Fowler has talked about Jackie Robinson's achievements, highlighting how Robinson's work and sacrifice helped pave the way for his own success in MLB.

Fowler hits a home run during a 2015 game against the San Francisco Giants. GIF from MLB/YouTube.

"I don't think God could have picked a better person [than Jackie Robinson] to do it," Fowler said in an interview a few years back. "It definitely takes a strong individual to do that."

In sports and in life, we've made a lot of progress over the past 71 years. There's still a long way to go.

In 1953, Ernie Banks became the first black athlete to play for the Cubs. While he went on to have a Hall of Fame career, he never made it to the World Series, and it ate him up inside.

"Sometimes I’m at a Hall of Fame reunion and I’ll look around and see I’m the only one in the room who never played in a World Series," said Banks in an interview with Ron Rapoport. "I’ve had nightmares about it. Once I even talked to a psychiatrist. There wasn’t much he could say, just that I’d done the best I could and it wasn’t meant to be."

Banks died in January 2015. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Sadly, Banks passed away in January 2015 without seeing his beloved Cubs do what he tried to accomplish during his own career. Still, it's the progress and work of players like him and like Robinson that got us to where we are today in terms of racial equality in sports, and that might be more important than any championship ring.

Fowler makes a diving catch during the ninth inning of a 2016 playoff game. GIF from MLB/YouTube.

There's still work to be done, however. So long as inequality in its many forms exists — whether on the basis of race, gender, religion, class, country of origin, or anything else — there's work to be done, and whether you're a Jackie Robinson, an Ernie Banks, or a Dexter Fowler, you can help bring about positive change in the world through bravery and empathy for others. It's about much, much more than sports; it's about life.