Nationals’ Turner apologizes to team for insensitive tweets

WASHINGTON (AP) Nationals shortstop Trea Turner apologized to his teammates on Tuesday for homophobic and racially insensitive tweets he sent several years ago.

An emotional Turner met with reporters following meeting with his teammates, coaches and manager Dave Martinez.

”It’s not when I said the things I said. It’s that I said them at all,” the 25-year-old Turner said. ”That’s a clear learning point from this to make sure that anybody is aware of what they’re saying at all times. No matter how you use it or what context you think you are using it in, words hurt. It’s wrong and inexcusable for what I said.”

The posts, from 2011 and 2012 when Turner was playing at N.C. State, surfaced hours after Washington’s 5-0 loss at Miami on Sunday. Turner and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo issued statements of apology Sunday night, and the Nationals were off Monday.

”I want to apologize to everybody that was affected by things that I said: LBGT community, African-American community, special needs community,” Turner said Tuesday. ”I’m truly sorry for what I said and I want to take full responsibility for that. I want to apologize to my teammates, I just talked to them, make sure that they know my thoughts and where I’m at.”

Turner also shared his contrition with Rizzo, the Nationals and the team’s fans. Turner was applauded before his first at-bat against the Mets Tuesday night.

The Washington shortstop was one of two players, along with Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb, who had their tweets unearthed Sunday by fans. Years-old racist, misogynist and homophobic tweets from Milwaukee Brewers All-Star pitcher Josh Hader were found during the All-Star Game.

”We’ve seen three guys now in our league that have some old tweets surface like this, and I really hope it can be a learning experience and that people can grow from it because I know Trea. I know the man he is. I love him as a friend, as a teammate,” said Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle, who posted a series of tweets about the issue on Monday, saying he was disheartened to hear such language coming from major league players and offering his support to the LGBTQ community.

”I really don’t think that those reflect who he is,” Doolittle said of Turner, ”but now he has the opportunity to demonstrate that growth and we have to give that space for him to be able to demonstrate that he’s grown and he’s changed since then.”

Rizzo was asked what he would tell young players about using social media.

”This is a cultural thing,” he said. ”It’s not about social media. It’s about people’s attitudes. Love one another. Treat others how you want to be treated. I think that rule is long-lasting and forever.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball