Tennessee tennis player Tennys Sandgren has this afternoon condemned the media’s response to the scrutiny he received yesterday over some ~interesting~ stuff involving his Twitter account.
Sandgren was questioned by reporters about his social media presence after it came to light that he was following several prominent alt-right figures and had at one stage retweeted white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, who was present at the Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ rally at which 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a car was driven into a group of left-wing protestors.
As Sandgren himself points out, while it might not look great, who he follows and retweets isn’t a particularly strong condemnation itself, but a tweet of his from November last year (not exactly ancient history) describing the conspiracy supposed by Pizzagate truthers to be “sickening” with the “collective evidence [being] too much to ignore” seems to indicate he’s a bit further into it than he has expressed.
The Pizzagate conspiracy is popular with America‘s far-right, alleging that a number of influential left-wing political and media figures including the Clintons operate together in a satanic pedophilia cult that uses ‘pizza’ as codewords for child trafficking and abuse. In December 2016, a Pizzagate truther fired an AR-15 in a pizza restaurant in Washington, DC while trying to find captive children in the basement, except of course it turned out the place didn’t have a basement.
In his statement, Sandgren expressed that, actually, his expression of support for an insane conspiracy theory was actually just an attempt to further understand the world:
You would rather perpetuate propaganda machines instead of researching information from a host of angles and perspectives while being willing to learn, change, and grow. You dehumanize with pen and paper and turn neighbour against neighbour. In so doing, you may actually find you’re hastening the hell you wish to avoid, the hell we all wish to avoid.
It is my firm belief that the highest value must be placed on the virtue of each individual, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. It’s my job to continue on this journey with the goal of becoming the best me I can and to embody the love Christ has for me, for I answer to Him and Him alone.
You can watch the full statement here:
“With a handful of follows and some likes on Twitter, my fate has been sealed in your minds.”
🇺🇸 @TennysSandgren reads a written statement to open his post-match press conference.#7Tennis #AusOpen #Sandgren pic.twitter.com/eo974IcF0d
— 7SportAU (@7SportStandby) January 24, 2018
Sandgren has since deleted nearly all of his tweets.