Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez told reporters Tuesday he "didn't mean any harm" by his nearly six-year-old Instagram post that advocated for the Second Amendment via a quote that has been falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler.
The inaccurate quote, often cited by those who oppose gun control, was posted to Martinez's Instagram page in 2013 and read, "To conquer a Nation, First disarm it's (sic) citizens." It included an accompanying photo of the German dictator doing the Nazi salute.
A 25-year-old Martinez captioned the image, "This is why I always stay strapped! #thetruth."
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, a day after the old post resurfaced, Martinez, now 31, said it was meant to illustrate his stance on the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms. The post has since been deleted.
"At the time I posted that, the Second Amendment at the time was definitely a hot topic," Martinez said. "The point of it wasn't to offend anybody."
Martinez, who is Cuban-American, said most of his family was forced to flee their country under Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and it was with that experience in mind that Martinez shared the ominous quote on social media.
"I saw it and I posted it," he said. "I had no intent to offend anyone, but it was mostly just to state a point -- a political point at the time that I believe in. ... I stand by the Constitution and the Second Amendment. It's something that I take pride in, and it's something that I'll back up."
As his Red Sox readied to play the Miami Marlins at home on Tuesday night, Martinez reiterated that he's "here to play baseball," not talk about politics or "start a movement."
"I don't want this distraction," he said. "You guys are talking about something that happened six years ago. I posted it and that's why I'm out here talking about it, but I'm worried about a championship. I'm worried about winning a championship. Everyone here has a right to their own political beliefs, and everybody has the right to stand by what they believe in. 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."
Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy told the Boston Herald on Monday that the team had spoken to Martinez and regularly communicates with players about being cautious on social media.