Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez is facing criticism for a 2013 Instagram post incorporating a photo of Adolf Hitler that resurfaced in a New York Daily News article over the weekend.
Martinez was sharing his views regarding gun rights on social media and used the photo and attributed a quote to Hitler, "To conquer a nation, first disarm it's citizens."
Martinez's comment under the photo reads, "This is why I'll always stay strapped."
Before Tuesday's game, Martinez explained that the post was misinterpreted and he was drawing the parallel to his family's hardship in Cuba.
"Most of my family was run out of Cuba by a brutal dictator and I'll never get to meet some of my family members because of it," Martinez said. "I saw it and I posted it and it had no intent to offend anyone, but it was mostly to state a point, a political point at the time that I believe in."
Martinez says he stands by the Second Amendment, the right of citizens to bear arms.
"Everyone here has a right to their own political beliefs and everybody has a right to stand by what they believe in and that's what makes us American," Martinez said. "We're not all going to agree on the same things, but that's what makes this country so great."
The Red Sox issued a response regarding Martinez's social media post to Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley.
"We spoke with JD and he explained he was expressing his view on a political issue. Players have the right to express their own political and social views (within MLB’s social media guidelines)," the statement read. "We work with our players regularly to reinforce that their social media interactions can be interpreted in ways that are unintended."