This year has been rather fruitful for the underdog at the Australian Open tennis tournament.
One of the unexpected successes is a Tennessean with a funny name, Tennys Sandgren, whose giant-killing efforts have earned him a place at the tournament’s quarterfinal and plenty of admiration.
But as people began to jump on the Sandgren bandwagon, questions have been raised about the player’s alleged support of the so-called alt-right, a white nationalist movement, and the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
Tweets from the player have been circulated which indicate his support for Mike Cernovich on “fake news,” a denial that America has a problem with systemic racism because it elected a black president twice, and his belief that the “collective evidence is too much to ignore” in regard to the Pizzagate emails.
In the wake of his win against world no. 5 Dominic Thiem, Sandgren was asked by a reporter if he was concerned about his “social media output … which includes some political figures who might be considered outside the mainstream.”
Sandgren said he wasn’t concerned about the tweets, and that engaging with these alt-right personalities doesn’t necessarily mean he believes in what they say.
“I think it’s crazy to assume that, to say, ‘Well he’s following X person so he believes all the things that this person believes.’ I think that’s ridiculous. I think that’s ridiculous. That’s not how information works,” he said.
“If you watch a news channel you wouldn’t then say that that person who’s watching a news channel thinks everything that that news channel puts out. You wouldn’t think that.”
Sandgen denied supporting the alt-right, instead reasserting his faith.
“I find some of the content interesting, but no I don’t … as a firm Christian I don’t support things like that. I support Christ and follow him and that’s what I support,” he said.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that all of his tweets from June 2016 appear to have been deleted. Sandgren’s last viewable tweet was about Brexit.
Sandgren faces another underdog in South Korean Hyeon Chung on Wednesday, and we’re sure there will be plenty more questions to come.