A former baseball star in America has sparked outrage after referring to a murder suspect in Kenosha as a "national treasure".
Two-time World Series champion Aubrey Huff - who has a history of posting hate-filled messages on Twitter - has been condemned over his response to the fatal shooting of two protesters in Kenosha, the Wisconsin city where Jacob Blake was shot by police on Sunday.
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Huff - who is an avid Donald Trump supporter - applauded the actions of 17-year-old accused killer Kyle Rittenhouse - hours before he was charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the shocking triple shooting, that wounded one other person.
“#KyleRittenhouse is a national treasure,” Huff wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
The explosive tweet was roundly condemned but also garnered thousands of likes and retweets before it was deleted.
Aubrey Huff is a national disgrace, advocates cold-blooded murder and should be banned from Twitter right along with Tucker Carlson. pic.twitter.com/LPlsqLA3SH— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) August 27, 2020
Huff's shocking tweet perhaps comes as little surprise, with the former San Francisco Giants star banned from the team's 10-year World Series reunion in February due to a series of "unacceptable" tweets.
This fact was not lost on many social media users who say his latest controversial remarks are true to form for the 43-year-old.
“The @SFGiants decision to disinvite Aubrey Huff from the 2010 World Series reunion because he made multiple comments on social media that are unacceptable and run counter to the values of our organization’ has aged well,” one user wrote.
“Aubrey Huff thinks a murderer is a national treasure.”
Sports writer Chuck Modi called for Twitter to ban the former star's controversial posts, describing him as a "national disgrace", with outrage against Huff widespread on social media.
Aubrey Huff is a symptom of a very sick strain of political thought in our country. pic.twitter.com/RJiuj5VosS— Grant Stern (@grantstern) August 27, 2020
I see Aubrey Huff is trending so without looking yet I’m going to guess he said something racist about the shooter or about NBA players. Either way I’m going to racism.— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) August 27, 2020
Has the white supremacist Aubrey Huff been banned from Twitter yet for advocating murder?— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) August 27, 2020
Blake shooting sparks protests across USA
The Huff controversy comes as athletes across America stage boycotts in protest against the latest racial injustice to rock the country.
The boycotts kicked off on Wednesday in the United States, with three Game 5 NBA Playoffs matches postponed, before a raft of other sporting teams and players followed suit.
The NBA protests threatened to jeopardise the completion of the season after the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers reportedly voted to boycott the remainder of the campaign.
Despite that resolution, the NBA confirmed that Thursday's playoff games won't be held, but the league said it hopes to resume them on Friday or Saturday.
NBA executive vice president Mike Bass said in statement that players, owners and others would hold a video conference call on Thursday to decide the next steps.
The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) also postponed Thursday's three scheduled games. It was not clear when games would resume. The WNBA also cancelled games on Wednesday.