Following his record signing with the Dodgers this week, Trevor Bauer’s social media behavior has come under renewed scrutiny, leaving the reigning National League Cy Young Award winning pitcher to answer for incidents in which he was accused of harassing women, spreading conspiracy theories and using insensitive language.
“Everyone makes mistakes in the past,” Bauer said during his introductory news conference at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, during which his social media history was the subject of several questions. “I try to learn from them as quickly as I possibly can. I try to understand other peoples’ viewpoint on things and be better in the future.”
Here is an explainer on some of the Twitter exchanges that have been called into question:
Alleged harassment of women by Bauer and his followers:
There have been two high-profile incidents in which women accused Bauer and his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers of harassing them on the platform.
The first occurred in January 2019, when Bauer and a Texas State University student engaged in an exchange that began with the student calling the pitcher her “new least favorite person in all sports” after he had trash-talked on Twitter Astros infielder Alex Bregman, one of her favorite players.
At first, Bauer and the student took shots at each other, such as her noting that he hadn’t won a World Series, and him digging up an old tweet of her drinking before her 21st birthday. Over the next several days, Bauer continued to tag her in tweets, even after she slowly stopped responding to him.
The student later told USA Today that, as Bauer continued to tag her, many of his followers piled on with hateful comments directed at her.
“I have cried daily and called my family crying because the first 12-24 hours or so I was getting a lot of hate,” she said at the time, adding: "When I said I felt harassed, he continued to tweet things like this claiming that I was responding to him because 'I like him.'”
Bauer later acknowledged in a tweet that “some of the interactions related to a specific Twitter exchange may have had a negative impact. That was not my intention. I will wield the responsibility of my public platform more responsibly in the future.”
He also said at the time that he does not encourage his fans to “attack, insult or harass anyone on any social media platform, or in real life. There is no room for that in the world.”
Last August, however, a similar incident occurred between Bauer, his followers and a New York Daily News reporter. It started when she took a screenshot of one of Bauer’s tweets about his behind-the-scenes video blog of last year’s pandemic-altered season and mockingly wrote, “When you’re definitely worried about the health and safety of your teammates.”
Bauer responded: “When you’re definitely not terrible at your job or desperate for someone to notice you. Here, let me send some more followers your way. Have a wonderful day!!”
That, the reporter said in a separate tweet last month, set off a barrage of responses directed at her by Bauer’s Twitter followers, including “death threats and Holocaust jokes in my mentions for months after he went after me.”
Following that accusation, Bauer gave a statement to the Athletic stating: “I don’t shy away from confrontation and am often quick to defend myself, but I am by no means a bully and I take great offense to my character being called into question. I understand what comes with having a following on social media but I have never asked for nor do I condone anyone making threats or lewd comments on my behalf.”
During his Dodgers news conference Thursday, he didn’t comment specifically on his interactions with either women when asked about them directly.
Tweet involving Obama conspiracy theory:
In February 2017, Bauer tweeted that he was “really annoyed” that Apple and Twitter “continue to flood my phone with liberal slanted anti trump articles. fair and equal reporting? No?”
When someone responded to him mentioning former President Trump’s so-called Muslim ban, Bauer replied with an apparent reference to an unfounded conspiracy theory about former President Obama’s birthplace, writing: “that same president who supposedly wasn’t born in the us did the exact same ban.”
Tweet replying to a fake George Soros quote:
A day after the 2016 presidential election, Bauer tweeted “I sure hope EVERY. SINGLE. INDIVIDUAL. that's part of a #TrumpProtest voted because if you didn't and you're protesting...oooooooo boy,” with two angry face emojis.
When someone responded to him with a fake quote about wanting to take down the country that was falsely attributed to billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros — who has been the target of other anti-Semitic conspiracy theories — Bauer seemingly portrayed it as fact, writing: “can't spread truth like that because then you're a ‘racist’ or ‘conspiracy theorist.’”
Tweet criticized as being transphobic:
On the same day the incident with the Texas State University student began, Bauer engaged in an exchange with a different Twitter user in which, in one tweet, he wrote, seemingly in jest, “I identify as a 12 year old. This is 2019. You have to have empathy for me and my condition.”
That type of language — Bauer had tweeted the phrase “I identify as a 12 year old” three other times in the previous two months — was criticized as making light of transgender and nonbinary people. In one subsequent exchange, Bauer objected to such claims, writing “[I’ve] never tweeted anything remotely transphobic. In fact, I’ve publicly stated support for the movement,” and “Please inform me how that’s a transphobic statement. Maybe I’m just missing something here...cuz I don’t get it.”
Defense of Cleveland Indians name:
During his fifth season with the Cleveland Indians in 2017, a fan tweeted at Bauer asking if he was “okay with racist caricatures for all races or just native Americans?” in apparent reference to the team’s name and Chief Wahoo logo.
Bauer responded by writing he hadn’t “met a single Native American yet who thinks it's racist. Shut up.”
The Indians name, of course, had been protested by various Native American groups for years prior to Bauer’s tweet. In 2018, the team retired the Chief Wahoo logo. Last December, the organization announced it would change its name after the 2021 season.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.