Biertempfel: Pirates' Hughes faces tough issue
CINCINNATI — Reliever Jared Hughes received emails and texts Tuesday morning from people he knows, friends and family, asking if he really was a racist. Hughes was shaken by the messages.
In the wee hours of that morning, Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds tweeted that some player had hurled a racial slur at him during the game against the Pirates. Phillips did not identify Hughes by name, but the indication was clear, as the two had an on-field spat after Phillips was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning.
Hughes can be an intimidating presence on the mound. He is 6-foot-7, bolts from the bullpen onto the field at full speed and stares down batters. That's his game face. Off the field, he is friendly and soft-spoken. None of his teammates have a harsh word to say about him.
Phillips thought he heard Hughes refer to him as “boy” on the field. Watching video replays of Hughes shouting at Phillips, even an amateur lip-reader can see Hughes said no such thing.
With an assist from mutual friend Andrew McCutchen, Hughes and Phillips worked out their differences during a phone call. “I respect him as a man,” Hughes said. “I love him as a brother,” Phillips said.
It seemed like a happy ending to what Phillips said was “just a big misunderstanding” — a kerfuffle sparked by Phillips' ill-advised tweet. Their chat might have cleared the air, but Hughes still must deal with people's altered perceptions of him, shaped by rumor and innuendo in social media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates SS prospect Tucker making progress after thumb surgery
- Pirates shift times on 5 games, including rescheduling 2 fireworks nights
- Pirates officially sign Korean shortstop Kang
- For Pirates, NL Central test just got tougher
- Pirates’ reaction mixed to the news of pitch clock in minor leagues
- Pirates sign 9 to yearlong deals; 3 going to arbitration
- Korean star Kang could be financial windfall for Pirates