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Think twice before you post

The worlds of sports and politics have become increasingly intertwined in recent years.

Through this new cultural marriage, the opinions of athletes have increasingly held more and more weight over the public consciousness.

Many of today’s professional athletes grew up in social media’s infancy. Their adolescent years were broadcast on Facebook and Twitter, but the true significance and permanence of those platforms was not recognized 10 years ago, which has led to many a professional athlete apologizing in recent years for posts made in their youth.

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader, 24, was pitching in his first MLB All-Star Game when posts that he made at age 17 resurfaced. In many of the posts, Hader used a racial slur and posted that he “hated gay people” on multiple occasions. Hader apologized for the posts immediately after the All-Star Game and returned to Milwaukee with a standing ovation. He was later booed during his first road start against the San Francisco Giants.

Former Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo was having the game of his life in the 2018 men’s collegiate basketball championship, when offensive tweets from his account resurfaced, dated from 2011 and 2012.

Today’s youth better understand the refinement necessary for social media platforms. They have seen the mistakes of the generation that has come before them, and have hopefully learned a valuable lesson, don’t post unless you are comfortable with your words being broadcast nationwide many years down the line.

This past week, however, some local athletes chose to speak out on a hot-button cultural issue while using offensive language. While speaking on controversial topics and using offensive language is not an anomaly with high school students, student-athletes and other those considering career in the public eye should be extremely conscious of what they post online.

Student-athletes should be conscious of what they post online today, because although they may think only their friends can see the posts at the present moment, the data remains online forever. You never know how many people will be watching five years from now. Regardless of having eight or 8,000 followers, it is crucial for all student-athletes to think twice before posting.

Rashad Milligan is the sports editor of The Valley Times-News. He can be contacted at rashad.milligan@valleytimes-news.com