Former Detroit Tigers slugger J.D. Martinez is defending a controversial 2013 Instagram post that featured German dictator Adolf Hitler.
The Boston Red Sox player was asked about the recently resurfaced post, which featured a misquoted graphic of Hitler saying, "To conquer a nation, first disarm it's citizens."
"It was one of those things where I saw the quote, I saw the meme, and it was terrible. Like I said, my (family) came from Cuba,” Martinez said. “And that was another brutal dictator at the time . . . when I read that it kind of threw me back."
“I posted it,” Martinez said to reporters. “I love my country. I love this country. I stand by the Constitution and I stand by the Second Amendment and it’s something that I take pride in. It’s something that I’ll back up.”
“As most of you guys know I’m Cuban-American, and most of my family was run out of Cuba because of a brutal dictator,” he said. “It’s terrible. It’s one of those things where I’ll never get to meet some of my family because of it.”
"Everyone here has a right to their own political beliefs and everybody has the right to stand by what they believe in," he said. "That's what makes us American. We're all not going to agree on the same things, but that's what makes this country so great."
“If anyone reads it, anyone who sees it, that’s not what I meant by it,” he said. “I meant the exact opposite of it if you read and you see it. But I’m here to play baseball. I’m not a politician, I’m not in politics, I’m here to help us win.”
Martinez, 31, is leading the American League in batting average and RBIs this year with the first place Red Sox.
The Instagram post has since been deleted, but we took a screenshot.