Crossing The Line

Today is one of those posts I wrestled with. The trial of George Zimmerman in Florida ended today with a verdict of not guilty. Anger, outrage, disbelief flooded Twitter. But there was one tweet that crossed the line.

For those who have read my blog before, they know that I have called out fans for their behavior, including their tweets. Harassing, threatening or wishing ill-will on athletes for any reason is uncalled for. Nobody deserves that type of treatment from another person. Nobody.

When I have put fans on notice, it’s usually related to their responses to an athlete’s on-field performance. Thus, why I wrestled with this post tonight. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I call out fans, I have to call out athletes too.

White, and many other African-American athletes like him, could identify with what happened. They saw themselves in Trayvon Martin. They too have walked in his shoes. They may have been suspected of something simply because of the color of their skin. They too may have been made to feel lesser or belittled simply because of who they were.

He was angry about the verdict. White has every right to be angry. But wishing people would kill themselves? That’s no different from someone telling Baltimore Ravens’ wide receiver, Torrey Smith, to kill himself.

White went too far.

***

Needless to say, there was some disagreement

Believe it or not, this was actually tweeted.

He had his supporters.

Yes, we are free to tweet whatever we want:

But we should be prepared for a response, good or bad. Thankfully, there was one voice of reason in response to White’s tweet:

***

Deadspin curated athletes’ reactions to the verdict, here. Hat-tip to them for the James Harrison tweet that lead me to this Facebook post. To “be” angry is fine. It’s what you do with that anger, even on social media, that you have to be careful.

Harrison FB***

This tweet from the Philadelphia 76ers’, Royce White, speaks volumes. Wonder if White or Harrison will listen?

I know this story has nothing to do with sports. But there’s no excuse for White’s tweet or Harrison’s Facebook post.

Social media has the power to change or even validate the way people think. Ways of thinking that can be positive or negative. Ways of thinking that can bring dialogue or more fuel to the fire. Telling people they should kill themselves won’t bring Trayvon Martin back. Threatening to kill “someone”, even in angry-jest, won’t alleviate Trayvon’s family’s pain.

If I tell fans “we” should be better, then athletes should too.

***

CadChica Sports

One comment on “Crossing The Line

  1. Harry Funk says:

    Very thought-provoking, Sunny. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s