Red Sox star J.D. Martinez is standing by a controversial post on his Instagram feed which depicts Adolf Hitler giving the Nazi salute with the quote, “To conquer a nation, First disarm it’s (sic) citizens.” While it is an older post, rather than walk it back, Martinez has instead chosen to defend it, saying he did not mean to offend anyone. He has also chosen to not remove the post, as he still agrees with the sentiment it expresses and says that people need to understand that as a Cuban-American, the post honors his family’s struggle against Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and his support for the Second Amendment.
Red Sox skipper Alex Cora has told his players that he expects them “to be responsible enough to explain” any controversial views they post to their social media, and as such, Martinez had no choice but to address the media or risk the consequences of flouting his manager’s authority, according to the New York Post. Martinez provided the press with a narrative that sounded well-meaning but had no actual answers or defense for why exactly he would choose a photo of Hitler as a means of honoring or defending anything, especially given the fact that when he posted it, he was 25 and not a teenager like most of the players recently entangled in social media missteps, as reported at the Boston Herald.
“I posted it. I love my country. I love this country. I stand by the Constitution and I stand by the Second Amendment and it’s something that I take pride in. It’s something that I’ll back up. 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. It’s terrible. It’s one of those things where I’ll never get to meet some of my family because of it.”
If it was just this one post expressing his political views, Martinez may have dug out from under it better than he has. After the Hitler post surfaced, people began digging and other posts of a political nature have come to the surface that aren’t sitting well with some fans. A post from election day on November 6, 2012, was also located in which Martinez took a shot at Democrats.
“Obama will grab the early lead Tuesday, until the Republicans get off from work.”
It was reported that he was insinuating that Republicans have jobs and Democrats do not. It’s basically harmless, dog whistle politics to be sure, but it hasn’t sat well with New England fans.
Columnist Steve Buckley pointed out that Martinez, having been born and raised in the U.S., had to know that invoking Hitler could only serve to anger people. Furthermore, he dings Martinez for being sloppy in not knowing Hitler never spoke those words. He then invokes Godwin’s Law to refute Martinez’s explanation. Godwin’s Law states “if you mention Adolf Hitler or Nazis within a discussion thread, you’ve automatically ended whatever discussion you were taking part in.” As reported at the Boston Herald, Mike Godwin personally spoke up on the issue yesterday.
“The rhetoric of invoking Hitler is indefensible because it trivializes what he and the Nazis did. It’s historically inaccurate to state that Hitler wanted to take people’s guns away. If anything, he wanted all citizens to have guns, except Jews.”
While no one argues Martinez has the right to speak freely any ideas that he has of a political nature or otherwise, what many fans pointed out is that he has to understand that doing so can come at a price, particularly if that speech involves invoking Hitler. The Red Sox brass stated that he was within MLB’s social media guidelines when they talked to Martinez about his posts, but did not take steps to defend him beyond that.
Martinez told the press that since the post has been up a while, he figured that people were just trying to dig something up to make him look bad. In that, it can be argued that those people doing the digging were successful. While some people have come in over the last 48 hours to defend Martinez on his post, just as many have questioned him on it. Either way, most people seem to agree that the post was in poor taste and not very effective in conveying the sentiments he stated he was trying to express.