If tennis Sandgren were truly a member of the alt-right, I would agree that much of the reaction that has been seen over the last 48 hours from tennis fans is justified. However, there seems to be some serious confusion as to what makes a person a part of the alt-right movement.
That word "movement" is key, because that's what the alt-right is. Like any other political movement, it seeks to grow in popularity to be able to eventually influence public policy. That means that someone who believes in the alt-right's movement should be seeking to grow it's popularity.
But when given the opportunity to do so, Sandgren repudiated the alt-right. He even went as far as to say that Christian values are incompatible with alt-right values, discouraging fellow believers from associating with the movement that he is being accused of supporting.
That alone ought to end all speculation that Sandgren is even sympathetic to the political movement. Still, some are accusing the American tennis player of secretly holding pernicious beliefs, while pretending publicly to denounce the movement. What evidence do they have? His Twitter account.
While fellow American tennis players like Jarmere Jenkins, Nicole Gibbs and John Isner, who all have personal relationships with Sandgren, have stuck their necks out to defend him, Sandgren's accusers think a few tweets are more indicative of what kind of a person he is.
Granted, some of the tweets are distasteful and indefensible, but they don't meet the burden of proof to accuse Sandgren of supporting the alt-right with so much evidence to the contrary.
One of the Twitter users that started the accusations, conveniently compiled what were considered the most damning tweets (out of thousands) that Sandgren has posted in the last several years. In other words, this list is the worst of the worst. https://twitter.com/dro
In the first tweet, Sandgren thanked a fan for offering support and added #americafirst. The issue is that the fan was a Trump supporter. That means that associating with any of the millions of Trump supporters, while being patriotic is the mark of a member of the alt-right in the view of Sandgren's accusers.
The next evidence was that Sandgren has had amicable Twitter exchanges with Nick Fuentes. I had no idea who Fuentes was before all this started and still don't know much, but guilt by association is weak evidence at best.
Next, Sandgren made two pro-life tweets. As mentioned before, Sandgren is a Christian, and his pro-life stance is consistent with biblical values. These tweets say far more about his religious views than his political views.
Moving down the list, one of Sandgren's news sources is the Daily Wire, whose editor-in-chief is Ben Shapiro. Sandgren already clarified that where he gets his news from does not reflect at all what he believes, but let's ignore that for a second. As an orthodox Jew, Ben Shapiro has spoken out against the alt-right many times and is among the most hated people by the alt-right. Last year, he received the most antisemetic tweets of anyone on Twitter. He also frequently uses his news site to denounce the alt-right. True supporters of the alt-right detest the Daily Wire and Ben Shapiro, not share their content on Twitter.
The next evidence is admittedly the most condemning. Sandgren made a pair of tweets making fun of gay people in a gay bar. These tweets are truly distasteful and indefensible. Having said that, these are just two tweets out of thousands that were made five years ago when he was 21 years old. He hasn't tweeted anything like this since then. Tennis fans have every right to take objection to these tweets, but they do not justify the accusation of being alt-right.
The following tweet is not much better, using a stereotype about asian women driving to make fun of a friend. This tweet was a reply and not meant to be seen in public. This in no way justifies what was said, but he has never said anything like this publicly. I think this was a severe lapse in judgement rather than an indicator of his genuine personal beliefs. This tweet really does not reflect well on him.
In the next tweet, he compared Karl Marx unfavorably to Adolf Hitler. Somehow, in the minds of Sandgren's accusers, strongly opposing communism is equivalent to supporting the alt-right. I hope no one sincerely believes that you must be a member of the alt-right to strongly oppose communism.
The next tweet shows Sandgren replying in agreement to a tweet by Mike Cernovich, who quoted a tweet and called it fake news. The original tweet was deleted, so I'm inclined to assume that it probably was fake news.
The next evidence is that he has retweeted Alex Jones twice. Alex Jones is a dishonest person, but the issue ought to be the content of the tweets rather than the person who wrote the tweets. The particular tweets that were retweeted had to do with transgender bathrooms. People can feel free to disagree with Sandgren on this issue, but most conservative republicans are against transgender bathrooms. If this is what it means to be an extremist, much of the right side of the political spectrum in the United States is extremist.
We already dealt with the topic of Ben Shapiro, so I'll skip the next tweet.
The next tweet was when he criticized tennis fans in New York for not supporting John Isner, who should have been the home favorite. Sandgren was sticking up for his friend, and in the wake of this controversy, John Isner has returned the favor.
The following evidence is that he is not a fan of Serena Williams. Before you assume that this is racism, he was cheering for another black American Sloane Stephens, who was playing against Serena Williams. Also, it is possible to dislike Serena Williams without hating an entire race of human beings. I should also mention that the tweet in question has been cropped by many Twitter users to remove the headline. This inaccurately makes it look like Sandgren is commenting on the pictures of Serena Williams screaming rather than the content of the article, which is what he was really commenting on.
The next evidence is a list of people that Sandgren follows. He already clarified that follows are not endorsements, but the list includes people like the president of his country along with other certified Twitter users that are popular follows for many Americans. Again, if Sandgren is an extremist or member of the alt-right, so is a huge portion of the United States.
The next evidence is that over a year ago, he wrote two tweets about a conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton. In 13 months since then, he hasn't brought it up again. This issue is clearly no longer relevant, because he doesn't seem to believe it anymore. What you would hope would happen when someone finds a conspiracy theory interesting is that they would eventually realize that its not true. In the case of Sandgren, he quickly realized it wasn't true and moved on.
Finally, Sandgren has retweeted Fox News, Drudge Report and Cloyd Rivers, which are all widely followed and retweeted Twitter accounts. This one is really a stretch. If this is the worst stuff that can be found out of thousands of tweets, there is no justification for accusing Sandgren of being a supporter of the alt-right.
As Jarmere Jenkins rightly tweeted before being bullied into deleting his tweet, this shouldn't even be a story. Sandgren just reached his first career quarterfinal at a major and this should be celebrated. Instead the last 48 hours has been an unwarranted trial on Sandgren's character.