Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Back to Opinion

Why Ryan Braun Sparked Anti-Semitic Twitter Flood

The recent suspension of Ryan Braun, the star Milwaukee Brewers outfielder known affectionately as “the Hebrew Hammer,” has brought in its wake a host of anti-Semitic tweets directed at Braun — and pretty much everyone else of Jewish heritage.

The Huffington Post reported on the Tweets in the best way they could, by compiling a top 10 ten list of the most anti-Semitic responses to Braun’s suspension. Highlights include a charming Tweet by a user named Tyler Winslett: “Of course Ryan Braun took steroids. He’s a Jew, and last I checked, sports aren’t really their thing.”

The sentiment was shared by Ryan Hicken:

Some went with an older anti-Semitic trope:

Justin Credible, whose eloquent tweet, “NOTHING GOOD EVER HAPPENS TO JEWS HAHAHAHAHA” was featured on Huffington Post, simply locked his account and changed his profile summary to “Living life, I am not antisemetic.” [sic]

Braun has been accused on Twitter of being a “Juicing Jew” since allegations of his performance-enhancing drug use began. Bigotry online, and particularly on Twitter, the only major social networking site which doesn’t prohibit hate speech, is rampant and doesn’t take prompting.

“The most anti-Semitic postings about Ryan Braun didn’t begin with his suspension,” says Deborah Lauter, the Anti-Defamation League’s Civil Rights director.

“The [ADL] sees [internet bigotry] as the newest trend in anti-Semitism,” said Lauter, though she noted that it’s difficult to quantify the amount of hate circulating online. Despite the decline in overt anti-Semitic incidents in 2012, as measured by the ADL, a ramp-up in online hate speech is weakening the positive trend.

Anti-Semitism directed at Jewish baseball players is nothing new, says Peter Ephross, co-editor of a new oral history of Jewish major leaguers.

“In 1918, Bob Berman, the catcher for the Washington Senators, was heckled by anti-Semites and the famous pitcher Walter Johnson stood up for him,” Ephross said.

Al Rosen, who, like Braun, won the MVP award, was known to fight anyone who dared insult his Judaism. Still, Ephross thinks the days of widescale anti-Semitism pointed at Jewish players is 30 years in the past.

“Only two types of people know who the Jewish baseball players are,” he assures me. “Jewish baseball fans and virulent anti-Semites.” And you need to search Twitter to find at least one of them.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.