Curt Schilling and the Cyber Trolls

For those of you who have not heard yet about Curt Schilling’s most recent blog post, the story in a nutshell is this: Curt Schilling’s daughter Gabby was accepted at Salve Regina College to play softball. Proud dad–but polarizing figure–Curt, tweeted this news, congratulating her. In response, a few young men–no, to give them status as human beings is too kind. A few Internet trolls (with apologies to trolls everywhere) responded with about the most vile tweets I have ever read. Curt went Columbo, investigating, uncovering and publishing the tweeters’ identities. For those that he could not find, he shared what he knew, and asked his readers to do the rest. Which of course they did.

The karmic comeuppance has been satisfying.  One of the individuals has been fired (from a job with the Yankees!); another has been suspended by his college. And many people are commending Curt for protecting his daughter without going Rambo. Happy ending. Huzzah!

What floors me is how many people, media outlets included, have chosen to downplay the substance of the tweets, many calling them “offensive.Offensive? A BusinessInsider.com story includes the headline “Curt Schilling destroys 2 dudes who were harassing his daughter on Twitter.” Harassing? The article goes on to say “Of course, along with the many kind and very harmless messages of congratulations come trolls who have nothing better to do but type lewd comments and fire them off into the Twittersphere.” Lewd?

“Deadspin documented all the tweets, and most of them use very NSFW language.” NSFW?

Other outlets have referred to “cyberbullying.” Hardly. These messages were depraved. They were perverted and their senders are morally corrupt. Read them. It made me sick to my stomach.  I can understand media outlets not wanting to reprint them, or quote them verbatim. But why can’t we call them what they are? These were violent, misogynistic threats.

So many people writing about and commenting on this seem to have missed the larger point. Many have pointed out that if you were a parent, you would understand. But one shouldn’t HAVE to be a parent to get that the rage and hatred that underlies these tweets was not directed at Curt Schilling. It was directed at a young woman that the tweeters will never meet.

The perpetrators–for that is what they are as I am pretty sure what they did is criminal–will likely never understand why what they did and said is wrong. They will blame Curt Schilling for being thin-skinned, for not being able to take the heat.  But they will blame women for not being able to take the joke, for overreacting, and for their future inability to get a job or a date.

It sounds so familiar. Oh, right. Because we hear stories like this every day. I’m glad this time it involved a famous athlete on the other end of the typical “violence against women” story.

 

 

 

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