Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cyber Bullying In Sports

Being a Colorado Rockies fan in an online community is hard, after every positive post, the trolls come out of the woodwork and tries all they can to cause pain through the internet.  As much as I love social media and the internet, there are groups of people that their only purpose in life is to make others feel bad like them.  We are growing aware of affects of cyber bullying in children and in life in general.  When we as a society hear of someone being cyber bullied, we demand answers right away from people.  We scream there needs to be change, or where are the parents at?  If you want to see cyber bullying at work, just look no further than online sports sites, such as ESPN, or Yahoo Sports.  The problems isn't always strictly a childrens issue, the children learn it from us adults.

Today I read an article of a Canadian 23 year old female professional tennis player that could no longer take the online abuse.  Here we have someone in their early 20's that isn't a well known person, in a sport that isn't as popular as many other leagues, but these rouge fans do all they can to spit venom create wounds into a person.  Rebecca Marino is the tennis player who found it not fun anymore to play tennis because when she lost, she would get death threats because of stupidity on stuff like people losing money on a match.  I understand we are all fans of our teams and players, but we as sports fans need to police up these trolls on these major sites.  

If a baseball player goes 0 for 20, is it right for people to blast that player on sites?  Maybe that player is having family issues, we don't know.  When players start going into slumps, or a player for some reason gets down on themselves, there are those people who smell blood and take that chance to make themselves heard.  Just think of some times recently that people sent death threats to sports figures.  

Mark Sanchez via Twitter POST
Replacement Refs who called the Seattle/Green Bay game last year
Jim Joyce after his blown call of a Tigers perfect game a few years back

Then just imagine if Bill Buckner's 1986 World Series error happened today during the internet age?

Just days after that Series ended Bucker received letter after letter of threats.  Did a player deserve the years of threats because of something that happened in three seconds of his life?  In 1986 the threats would be via mail or phone, today they seem to come from everywhere!  There thousands or tens of thousands of sports pages that take comments, there are cell phones, and there is the fastest way to get into a players head, social media.  Social media you can not only get into the head of a player, but also their family.  When Jim Joyce blew his call in Detroit a few years ago it only took minutes after that call for his family to receive death threats.  Did Joyce and his family deserve all the heart ache because at that split second he believed the call was right.  If a closer loses an important game to a home run late in the season, does he deserve threats because he made a pitch that missed by a few inches?  Yes sports figures make good money, but they are human.  If everyone was perfect, we wouldn't need to have sports because nobody would lose.    

There are billions of people in this world, we got to figure that there are many of these types of people come from outside the United States and are only in business to create havoc in our nation.  All we can do in an online community is report these people and not respond to their posts.  Act like they don't exist, because the more you try to prove your point they are going to keep making it worse.  


In the recent years fantasy sports have boomed, and typically quite fans will blast players for their slumps.  They would make an example of one player costing them a weekly spot in the fantasy polls.  When I was in Iraq in 2005, that was my first time I played fantasy football.  We did it the old fashion way since we didn't have good access to computer, all stats came from a paper, and we drafted using a poster board.  We played for fun, just bragging rights.  This year was my first year I had to stop playing football fantasy because of people fantasy comments directed towards players.  Since many of these sites have cash bonuses these places are becoming even more hostile zones for player hate.  

We can't just call 911 to police the internet, all we can do is spread the word that we will not tolerate these types of comments and people.  Don't be afraid to turn them in on a site, because you never know that one of these people actually follow through their words.

Lets make it a point that someone shouldn't have to stop doing what they love because of being bullied. 

1 comment:

  1. I read about the tennis player! Awful thing to happen.


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