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Nationals unlikely to sign draft pick who made racist tweets

Aug 9, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

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Zach Houchins, the Nationals’ 15th-round pick in the 2011 draft who created a bit of a stir when a fanblog highlighted some very unflattering tweets, hasn’t heard from the team in months and is highly unlikely to sign a contract prior to the Aug. 15 deadline.

Houchins, a shortstop from a North Carolina juco, apologized to the Nationals back in June, but hasn’t had any contact with the team since, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports.

“I called [the Nationals]. I apologized to Mr. Roy Clark [the team's assistant general manager]. I apologized to him for what was said on Twitter,” Houchins said. “[Clark said], ‘Yeah, anything you said on Twitter was completely unacceptable.’ I understood where he was coming from. That was pretty much the conversation.”

Houchins indicated he plans to return to Louisburg College and try to improve his draft stock for next year.

  1. skipp504 - Aug 9, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    After reading his tweets, I have come to the conclusion that this kid is not racist but simply using the word “nigga” like some of his black friends do. I read that his roommate, whom he has lived with the past couple years, is black. While that doesn’t make it right, he’s just a young dumb kid trying to use the popular lingo.

    • FC - Aug 9, 2011 at 1:31 PM

      Yeah, not wise. Although I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve noticed a disturbing double standard trend where black people will use the n word between themselves in jovial banter, but a white guy can’t use the n word within the same context without offending. While I understand that for many many years White people would use such a word in derogatory form, I think the time has come to turn a page and accept that if you are going to use such words as lingo or idiom, certainly a personal white friend can do the same? (or latino, or asian, etc.).

      Basically by drawing attention to its previous use you keep the derogatory form alive. Much better to bury it and move on.

      • Joe - Aug 9, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        For one thing, posting on Twitter isn’t “jovial banter” with a friend.

        To me it’s like how you and a co-worker can refer to yourself as “peons” or something similar, but if your boss comes by and says “what’s up, peon?” or “hey, peon, I’ve got a job for you,” you’d probably be offended.

      • naliamegod - Aug 9, 2011 at 7:19 PM

        Not all black people use the n bomb; it’s actual use varies from person to person. Many black people think it is not appropriate in any situation. Some use it as a form of a “claiming the word” and/or fighting back racism (Which is why they may or may not approve of white people using it), and others just use it as an insult. Be careful of categorizing the opinion of an entire group of people.

    • diehardcubbiefan4life - Aug 9, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      yea i get where your coming from, but the one that said “imma bouta go sh*t on some n*ggas” where does THAT come from?

      • b7p19 - Aug 9, 2011 at 1:44 PM

        Yeah, not a good look. You just can’t do it. I don’t care about “well they do it!” That word has caused too much pain to be thrown back into the mouths of any American. The history of racism in this country is too extensive and we are not far enough removed from it, or really removed from it at all, to be throwing that word around. Good on the Nats to leave this kid in JUCO.

      • skipp504 - Aug 9, 2011 at 2:53 PM

        I’m black and I grew up in New Orleans. When you say “I am bout to shit on niggaz”, it means you are about to completely dominate the opposition in whatever your about to do. If your playing poker, it means your gonna win every hand. If its baseball, your gonna pitch like Roy Halladay and not like a 4A pitcher! Get the point. I basically means your about to embarrass someone.

    • fearlessleader - Aug 9, 2011 at 1:41 PM

      Read the first pair of tweets posted at the fanblog link and tell me he’s not racist. “Young dumb kid” and “racist jerk” aren’t mutually exclusive, alas.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 9, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Good for the Nationals for putting principle first…it’s just a shame they didn’t use the same philosophy when dealing with Jim Riggleman and instead let him walk away because of a bad principle.

    • randomdigits - Aug 9, 2011 at 2:08 PM

      Good on them but this is a 15th round draft pick. It is a lot easier to take the high road with him them a kid in the second round.

  3. drunkenhooliganism - Aug 9, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    He’s either racist or stupid. But probably both.

  4. bigxrob - Aug 9, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    If you go back to the original HBT post (linked above), his dad (so the poster calls himself) left a response to Spud. Not sure if y’all saw it.

  5. beede81 - Aug 9, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    as a black guy and having close latino and white friends , i think everyone is taking this out of the ordinary. I have used the word nig*a with my friends. The only problem i see is the way he put himself out there by using twitter. when he say “i’m about to go sh*t on some nigg*s” , he could have possibly been talking about how he is going to demolish his competition….. but all that doesn’t matter. Twitter is the worst place to express your feeling.

  6. mox19380 - Aug 9, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    as a black guy this seems rather innocuous. i’ve definitely heard worse. i wouldn’t say he’s racist but i applaud the Nats for taking a stand against Twitter idiocy…. Granted if he was a 1st round pick or a 15th round steal with huge prospects they may have not taken that moral high ground

  7. sawxalicious - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Given the culture these days, it does not sound like this kid is racist at all…in fact, it sounds as if he is using the lingo in the way that a “wigger” or “wangsta” might…he probably embraces the african american culture. The #1 thing to remember is that there is a HUGE difference between Ni***r and Nigga. Switch the a with an e and an r, and you go from college dorm to Klan meeting (in the p.c. public’s eye).

    I must disclose that I am caucasian, and do not see this kid’s use of the word as innappropriate given his age and the current culture, I personally do not use the word based on my own beliefs and upbringing. The only reason this kid is dumb/idiotic/stupid/clueless for posting this stuff is because he is now in the public arena, where perception is reality. If he was the kid working at the Circle K or scanning your purchase at Wal-Mart, no one would even bat an eyelash.

    He essentially did the equivalent of dropping a duce on his potential boss’s desk in the middle of the interview…

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