Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Josh Hader became the latest high-profile athlete to have inappropriate tweets brought to light. He could have avoided the uncomfortable scrutiny and apologies for racist, sexist and anti-gay messages.
Aside from the obvious – not posting them – he could have used a scrubber service.
There are apps – and other online services – to delete tweets en masse.
“My service has been used by a few NBA and NHL All-Star participants,” Jekabs Endzins, co-founder of TweetDeleter, told USA TODAY Sports in a Skype interview. “They’ve used our service to clean their stuff up and were a bit smarter than this guy.”
Endzins said his company’s policy prevents him from naming any of his users, but he added “there are quite many” celebrities and athletes who use the service.
Hader’s Twitter messages from 2011-2012 were dredged up as he appeared during Tuesday’s All-Star Game. He said afterward his Twitter usage from that time “doesn’t reflect any of my beliefs going on now” and were the product of being “a young, immature and stupid” 17-year-old.
Hader, now 24, deleted some of the offensive tweets – like “I hate gay people” – before setting his Twitter account to private as the game went to extra innings. The Millersville, Md., native has since deactivated his account.
If you're wondering why Brewers pitcher Josh Hader (@jhader17) just set his Twitter account to private, this could be it: pic.twitter.com/KGMw39nH49
— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) July 18, 2018
Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that it will require Hader to undergo sensitivity training and work with MLB’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, but he will not be suspended.
Colorado Rockies first-round draft pick Ryan Rolison wrote in a since-deleted tweetthat coincided with Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012: “Well we have one hope left …if someone shoots him during his speech”. Rolison, who was 15 at the time of the tweet, apologized.
Racially insensitive tweets from former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen were published by Yahoo Sports just before April’s NFL Draft. Allen, a potential No. 1 pick, dropped to No. 7 before the Buffalo Bills selected him.
“I am who I am today and I wasn’t that guy six years ago when I was 15 years old,” Allen said after he was drafted.
A tweet from then-Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo, in which he dropped the N-word, surfaced as his team captured the national title in April. The tweet appeared to be from a Meek Mill rap lyric and was posted in 2011 when DiVincenzo, who was drafted in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks, was 14.
Twitter users can manually go through their timelines to delete tweets, which can be an arduous process.
TweetDeleter – which claims more than a million users – is one of the leading services that makes deleting tweets much easier. The company offers free and paid services, including a premium tier ($14.99 per month or $90 per year) that allows users to search for and delete an unlimited number of tweets.
“When you’re in high school and the kids use social media, they may not understand what they’re writing or they don’t care that much,” Endzins said. “After some time, they may forget what they post on social media or have other priorities in life. During that time, maybe their opinions have changed and they forget to clean their mess up.”
Endzins said his service is particularly popular among athletes who are about to be drafted, leading him to believe agents may be suggesting their new clients scrub their Twitter history.
“It’s rather cheap for them to clean an account,” Endzins added.
Certainly less costly than the alternative.