Yanks' Gray defends himself after old tweet is questioned

FILE PHOTO: Aug 1, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray (55) goes to the dugout after giving up runs to the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray became the latest major-leaguer to have an old tweet questioned. While Gray was pitching Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles, a six-year-old tweet that included a racial reference surfaced. Gray said postgame that the tweet was an inside joke between friends. Replying in September 2012 to Rashun Dixon, then a teammate of Gray in the Oakland Athletics' farm system, Gray tweeted, "@Sir_Peanut 1. You didn't go to college. 2. You are black. #followdaleaderleaderleader clap clap clap." Asked about the tweet Wednesday, Gray said, "I'm comfortable with who I am. You can ask anyone in this clubhouse who I am and what I'm about. ... If people are trying to dig stuff up, then ask (Dixon). If people are gonna try to question my integrity and question who I am, then so be it, because I know who I am and if you know me, you know who I am." In recent weeks, Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Sean Newcomb and Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner all apologized after they were found to have sent racist and/or homophobic tweets before they were 20 years old. Gray, whose tweet didn't include a blatant slur, took a different approach, not apologizing and defending his character. "My past has helped shape who I am today," said Gray, 28. "If people want to question who I am, like I said, I'll face that head on because I'm not scared of my past. Everything that's happened in my past has done nothing but made me a better man." Gray had a rough day on the field Wednesday, too. He was caught smiling while getting booed as he left the game after 2 2/3 innings. He allowed seven runs on eight hits in Baltimore's 7-5 victory. Gray saw his record fall to 8-8 and his ERA rise to 5.56. He had won each of his previous three starts, holding the opponent scoreless in two of those contests. --Field Level Media