SAN DIEGO — With the 457th pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, the Nationals selected a shortstop out of Louisburg Junior College in North Carolina named Zach Houchins. In the days since they tabbed him in the 15th round, Houchins’ twitter account has been brought to the attention of Nationals officials.
The account, which has since had it’s tweets deleted, featured several curse words and derogatory racial remarks both in conversation with other tweeters and in regular tweets, along with other unsavory remarks and re-tweets about sexual topics. One tweet, from a few months ago, also used both a racial slur and implied academic wrongdoing.
“We’re aware of and investigating the statements,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said late Thursday night through a Nationals spokesman.
Houchins, who played third base for Louisburg and is a North Carolina native, hit .349 in 50 games this season as a freshman with four homers, 14 doubles and 35 RBI. He is committed to East Carolina University for the 2011-2012 school year.
Houchins told the Washington Post Friday afternoon that he was “not a racist” and he was genuinely afraid that the remarks would jeopardize his future and prospects of signing a professional contract with the Nationals.
“Whether people think it or not, I’m not a racist,” Houchins told the Washington Post. “I’m not a bigot. I’ve had a black guy live with me for four years. My closest friends literally are all black. I’m sorry it was out there for everybody to read. That’s just how me and my friends talk, including my black friends.”
Houchins also told the Post that he apologized to Nationals assistant GM Roy Clark and was told that the twitter comments were “unacceptable.”