The Nationals have had no contact with 15th round draft pick Zach Houchins since they scolded him for making a series on insensitive comments on his Twitter feed, and Houchins has decided to return to Louisburg College, his junior college in North Carolina, Houchins said today in a phone conversation.
“I haven’t had [contact with the Nationals] any since all that stuff happened,” Houchins said. “I’m set on going back to school. ... I’m happy with it. I’d love to go back there.”
In June, Houchins deleted his Twitter account, which included rampant epithets depicting African-Americans, many phrases objectifying women, an objectionable term to describe homosexuals and at least one epithet used to describe Chinese people.
Houchins, 18, apologized at the time, saying he understood why his comments had caused a small uproar. But he also defended his actions, saying the objectionable phrases were not hateful, but part of the way he and his friends – many of them African-American – spoke with one another.
“Honestly, in my eyes, there was no lesson to learn,” Houchins said. “It’s just what I said got blown out of proportion, and I paid the price for it.”
Houchins said the Nationals’ reaction was “fair,” and that he hopes he’ll be picked in next year’s draft. During a conference call following the Nationals draft, before his Twitter feed rose to the surface, Nationals amateur scouting director Kris Kiline mentioned Houchins by name as a promising hitter.
The deadline to sign draft picks is midnight Aug. 15. The Nationals have yet to make significant progress in signing their top four draft choices – Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer, Brian Goodwin and Matt Purke.