U.S. Tennis Star Criticizes Media for Pegging Him Alt-Right

"You seek to put people in these little boxes so that you can order the world in your already assumed preconceived ideas."

U.S. tennis star Tennys Sandgren is fed up with the media asking him questions about who he follows on Twitter instead of asking him how his matches are going in the Australian Open. God forbid sports journalists talk about sports.

After winning a match this week, Sandgren, 26, was asked to explain his Twitter activity and why his feed includes some right-wing content. He scolded them for asking the question and reminded the media that there are far more important things to talk about than Twitter:

“Look, who you follow on Twitter, I feel, doesn’t matter even a little bit. What information you see doesn’t dictate what you think or believe. I think it’s crazy to think that. I think it’s crazy to assume that. To say, well, he’s following X person, so he believes all the things that this person believes, I think it’s ridiculous. I think that’s ridiculous.

"If you watch a news channel you wouldn’t then say that that person who’s watching a news channel thinks everything that that news channel puts out. I mean, you can ask me about my beliefs on things, that’s cool. But I think to lump in, just say, 'Well you follow this person,' so then, wow who are you? It’s like, ask me, you can ask me who I am and I’m perfectly fine answering those kinds of questions."

The media has targeted Sandgren because he follows alleged controversial alt-right figures like Britain’s Tommy Robinson and has taken part in discussion threads on “Pizzagate."  His real crime, though, was once tweeting: “I just don’t know how a country that practices systematic racism elected a black pres, twice.” Gasp!

And so, the media pegged him as supporting the alt-right — a charge he denied:

“No. No, I don’t. I find some of the content interesting, but no I don’t. Not at all. As a firm Christian, I don’t support things like that. I support Christ and following Him and that’s what I support.”

What was he thinking? He dropped the C-word. Now he’s an even bigger target!

Tennis champion Serena Williams has called on Sandgren to apologize to an “entire group of people” for holding beliefs different than hers.

Sandgren didn’t apologize but has since deleted the tweets in question. He also addressed the media directly for peddling propaganda instead of reporting sports. He told them he’d be glad to take questions that are relevant to tennis:

You seek to put people in these little boxes so that you can order the world in your already assumed preconceived ideas. You strip away any individuality for the sake of demonizing by way of the collective.

With a handful of follows and some likes on Twitter, my fate has been sealed in your minds. To write an edgy story, to create sensationalist coverage, there are a few lengths you wouldn’t go to to mark me as the man you desperately want me to be.

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 neighbor against neighbor. 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. I’ll take questions about the match, if you guys don’t mind. Thank you. If you have any questions about the match.

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