Major League Baseball is conducting an investigation after a tweet containing a homophobic slur came from Derek Holland's Twitter account on Sunday night.
The twist: The Texas Rangers lefty was pitching against the Los Angeles Angels at the time the since-deleted tweet was posted. The message from his account (@Dutch_Oven45) read "ur a [homophobic slur]" and was directed at a user (@scubasteveo28) who had called Holland "a waste of space" after giving up seven earned runs to the Angels in what ended up being an 8-7 Rangers win. Holland said the retort was the work of a hacker, but he also admitted that his fiancée has access to his Twitter account.
Well, color me shocked — shocked! — that an Internet interaction between accounts named after a prank involving a fart and an Adam Sandler/Jackass mashup ended this way.
[Jeff Passan: Miguel Cabrera sits out Tigers' raucous celebration]
But who was the real source of the intolerance?
"It's obvious it was not me," Holland said. "It was during the game, for one. And for two, I'm in the dugout cheering my teammates on. Why would I say that anyway to begin with?"
Holland said his fiancée, Lauren Hicks, has access to his Twitter account but reiterated that the slur was the work of a hacker. The slur was deleted quickly, according to Holland's Twitter followers, but screen caps of the message were saved and re-posted.
"It's definitely a hacker," Holland said. "Obviously my fiancée can get into it, but trust me, she's not like that. She's one of the nicest people in the world."
A quick survey of Twitter shows that some Rangers fans aren't really buying Holland's claims of a mischievous hacker. It is admittedly a tough tale to swallow given the logistics and the pitcher's admission that someone else was given the password.
... the idea that his account was "hacked," though, by someone who sent an ugly response to a trolling fan, and then deleted it? I'm not buying it. I get not wanting to throw his (fiancée) under the bus, but claiming he was hacked is just silly.
Texas GM Jon Daniels said the Rangers are taking the issue seriously and that "it's an unacceptable term to use." MLB's social media policy prevents players from tweeting during games and 30 minutes before first pitch. The guidelines issues by the league encourages players to connect with fans in a "positive way" and advises players to "pause and think twice before sending a message across social media in the 'heat of the moment.'"
Holland has apologized for "whoever it was that decided to hack into my Twitter and do that" but also noted that he "can't control what people do." Given the timing of the tweet, it's hard to see how MLB could possibly pin the message on Holland and give him a suspension comparable to the three games that Yunel Escobar received for his eye-black slur.
However, it's probably a safe bet to guess that Holland and his fiancée's days on Twitter are numbered.
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