Glendale, Ariz. -- Adam Eaton spent 6 1/2 minutes apologizing Monday morning for a controversial Tweet he sent out during the previous evening’s broadcast of the Academy Awards.
The White Sox outfielder said he “felt terrible” after he created a social media firestorm with a since-deleted Tweet he sent during Chris Rock’s opening monologue at The Oscars on Sunday night. As Rock addressed the topic of the night, that a field of nominees for six major categories included zero African American candidates, Eaton's tweet, which has since been deleted, read: “What does it always have to be about black and white…? #American”
Eaton approached reporters Monday morning shortly after he returned from a meeting where he said he addressed the issue with teammates.
“I feel terrible, I truly do,” Eaton said. “However it came across, I feel terrible. It was a tweet basically to talk about equality, that’s realistically what I wanted to say.
“That was kind of my feeling, why does it have to black and white, why can’t we just be Americans? Why can’t we all just be equal across the board? That’s how the quote came across in my eyes. Again, I apologize to anybody that was offended. I am not by any stretch of the imagination trying to downplay racism in this country. Just talking to the guys in the clubhouse, maybe African American, Latin American, of all descent, I like those guys in there just as much as anybody and they like me. And to be honest, they didn’t see any problem with the tweet. I asked them all and they laughed about it and said it’s one of those things where you can get traction either way. But in my eyes, again, I apologize wholeheartedly, I didn’t mean anything by it.”
Eaton is one of the team’s more active players on social media. He interacts often and said he likes to communicate with fans. Eaton said he didn’t expect the reaction he received and said part of it was his fault for a vague message.
“I thought the traction would be, and the response I would receive would be, ‘Yeah, Adam, it’s good. We need equality, we need to be created equal, we all need to be pushing in the right direction,’” Eaton said. “And that’s kind of how I felt my Tweet was worded. It is a small sample size and I guess I left it open-ended and being someone that does media a lot, I should have clarified a little more and not even stepped into that realm. But like I said, it is what it is and people look at it a certain way. But again, by no means necessary or any stretch of the imagination was I implying anything besides ‘Hey, let’s all be created equal.’ Again, I said that over and over again -- I enjoy everyone’s company, I love everybody and in my baseball world we have equality. I feel like everybody in this room, I respect and love. And everyone has an opportunity and in that stance I am ignorant. Like I said, I really feel terrible. I really feel awful.”
Eaton said he felt he had a good handle on how to operate on social media before Sunday’s episode. He calls Twitter a “positive tool” for interaction, but also said he may step back from social media.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura was asked if he believed the incident could be a problem in the clubhouse. Ventura doesn’t suspect it would because he didn’t think Eaton had “intended to be hurtful.” But, Ventura recommends his players avoid social media all together.
“Any time you get on Twitter, you’re going to get some backlash, I don’t care what you say,” Ventura said. “To me it just never goes well, I don’t care what you say. So it’s just better to stay off it.”