Recently Rob Refsnyder, the 2012 NCAA Men’s College World Series MVP, tweeted a few controversial statements. The one getting the most attention is the one that read:
Needless to say, this caused uproar among Gamecocks fans. Refsnyder says he tweeted this in response to the racist comments he was receiving from Gamecocks fans. However, many fans only saw the first tweet, not the two afterwards explaining the first.
Refsnyder has since deleted the tweet. He has also made his account private. Before it was made private, he did post this:
“Thank you for everyone covering college baseball, meant the world to everyone in Omaha! South Carolina’s ball club was nothing but class."
Refsnyder is 21 years old. He was born in South Korea and adopted by American parents at three months of age.
It is an awful thing that Refsnyder had to go through. He was obviously bothered enough by the things he heard and read to have to speak out on Twitter. Though it probably was not intentional, he offended both Gamecocks fans and South Carolinians with his response.
Refsnyder is an athlete in the 21st century. Although collegiate, he still has the responsibility of being careful with his words, especially when it involves social media. Most teams have rules or policies in place regarding the social media.
He has also been drafted by the New York Yankees. The Yankees are known as a world class organization and have strict policies on how those affiliated with them handle themselves, particularly the players.
There is a thin line between how you carry yourself on and off the field. Refsnyder will learn that the racism he encountered in Omaha will not go away as he advances in baseball. Unfortunately, he will probably continue to hear racist remarks and he makes his way through the minor leagues. It will follow him to the Majors as well.
He must now learn how to keep his remarks in check, no matter how much it hurts, annoys and infuriates. Of course he is a human being. But, he is a human being who will soon be playing professional baseball. Everything he says and does will be magnified, perhaps even more so because of what he tweeted already.
One can only hope that Refsnyder learns and grows from this experience. Athletes at all levels can learn from this situation.
In fact, we can all learn something.
UPDATE: Refsnyder has signed with the New York Yankees. He will make his debut with the Charleston RiverDogs on Tuesday night.