Iím all for sports, rivalries and social media, but it takes a special kind of stupidity to send death threats to any athlete for their performance during a contest.
Iím all for passion. I believe rivalries like Alabama and Auburn are a part of what make sports great. However, under no circumstances do I condone the treatment of Alabama kicker Cade Foster. After missing three field goals during the Iron Bowl Saturday, he became the scapegoat for all Alabama fans.
Twitter erupted immediately after the game with such hateful bile I wonít bother repeating it. Was I surprised by it? A little. Sometimes I forget there are no barriers between athletes and fans. Good or bad, social media makes it possible for everyone to voice their opinion.
Look, Iím not immune to game-time emotion. I cry, whine, plead and more often than not, Iím proud to talk to the TV (like it matters). Thatís where it ends. I donít get online and vent my frustrations to any athlete for their performance. Just like I donít expect anyone to threaten me for writing a sports column. Athletes should be afforded the same courtesy.
I understand that by becoming a professional athlete, thereís a certain amount of openness to the public that can be expected. The players who play the game go into sports knowing they give up a portion of their private lives to the public. Fair or not, that is the cost of fame.
However, the person who tweeted the death threats to Foster should be reminded that while we all have vested interest our teams, these are just games. While social media is a boon in so many ways, the downside is that it gives a voice to every village idiot.
One of my biggest complaints with social media is that it lets users hide behind pseudonyms. I donít think itís ever okay to send inappropriate tweets to someone. If users feel the need to do it, stand behind the message. Users should have the conviction to add their name to the messages they write.
Making social media users accountable for what they say on the web would go a long way to curbing the trend of inappropriate messages (wishful thinking). Just like you canít go into a crowded theater and yell, ďfire,Ē you shouldnít be able to cast death threats at will.
Social media isnít going away and neither are sports. What needs to go away is the lack of accountability. Just because fans have access doesnít mean that athletes should be subjected to abuse.
Almost every mother has told their child, if you donít have anything nice to tweet, donít tweet anything at all.