At least two tweets from former Atlanta Braves star Chipper Jones have led at least one Hall of Fame voter to leave him off their ballot.
Jose de Jesus Ortiz writing at the St. Louis Post Dispatch explained that he believed that Jones failed to live up to the high moral character expected of a baseball superstar. Despite Jones caliber of play on the ball field, Ortiz believes that several comments Jones made on Twitter disqualify him from consideration.
“Y’all think if they took all them gators they trap in Fla and La and put them in the Rio Grande, it wud [sic] stop the illegals from crossing? Jk,” Jones tweeted on June 8, 2013.
At the time, Jones defended himself, saying he didn’t say anything racist and began blocking people who called him out.
“Hey troll! Stop ranting like u know me. U don’t know squat! Never said anything racist, never said anything about anyone being,” Jones told one Twitter user.
Jones later apologized for his tweet, tweeting, “I realize that my tweet yest was offensive and distasteful. An attempt at humor was a terrible mistake. Please accept my heartfelt apology!”
Ortiz also pointed out another tweet about the Sandy Hook massacre as another Jones disqualifier.
“So the FBI comes out and confirms that Sandy Hook was a hoax! Where is the outrage? What else are we being lied about? Waco? JFK? Pfff …” Jones tweeted after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2015.
Jones eventually apologized for this tweet as well.
“Heard something from someone which I thought to be credible and tweeted w/out researching.” Jones said. “It was irresponsible of me to do that and will not happen again. Please accept my heartfelt apology to those who were hurt or offended.”
Ortiz concedes that Jones will likely get in without his vote, but that he felt he couldn’t help him along.
“Many people die crossing the border in an attempt to find a better life in America. A man of character and integrity doesn’t dehumanize immigrants with jokes about migrants serving as gator bait,” Ortiz writes. “Jones will make it in easily without my vote. I’ll judge this class on more than just their standing against their peers.”
In recent months, Jones has stayed clear away from politics on his Twitter, choosing instead to focus on baseball and hunting. Perhaps that will be enough for the hundreds of other Hall of Fame voters.