A right fielder criticized Hitler and gun control on Instagram five years ago, and people are mad. Or at least they pretend to be mad, sensing an opportunity to exercise power over others.
Because it’s the summer of combing through baseball players’ social media accounts for no good reason, they dredged up a pro-Second Amendment meme that Red Sox star hitter J.D. Martinez posted to Instagram back in 2013.
On Jan. 10 of that year, Martinez posted a picture of Adolf Hitler that quoted the dictator declaring, “To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens,” adding his own caption to say, “This is why I always stay strapped!”
Somehow, this is supposedly offensive to someone.
Forced by the social media police to defend his post half a decade later, Martinez was unapologetic. He pointed to his family’s experience fleeing Fidel Castro’s Cuba. “As most of you guys know I’m Cuban-American, and most of my family was run out of Cuba because of a brutal dictator,” Martinez reportedly said on Tuesday. “It’s terrible. It’s one of those things where I’ll never get to meet some of my family because of it.” Not only is that a perfectly fair explanation for the post, it’s actually a legitimate argument for his pro-gun position.
Further, Martinez admitted he wasn’t aware the picture had misattributed that particular quote to Hitler — not an uncommon thing on the Internet. “It was one of those things where I was really touched at the time,” Martinez reflected. “I saw it and I posted it. I had no intent to offend anyone. It was mostly just to state a point — a political point at the time.”
Unlike other players whose indiscreet posts have been dredged up recently, Martinez didn’t post anything offensive in the first place. Never mind that it was posted by a 25-year-old baseball player back when “Locked out of Heaven” was at the top of the charts.
The more blood the digital redshirts smell, the more they’ll harass people for perfectly benign expressions of views they disagree with. So good on Martinez for refusing to apologize. (That said, this isn’t an endorsement of the Red Sox.)