Hating from the Sideline

By: Dallas J. Short
Are you a fan of a sports team or athlete? Do you follow them on them social media? There is a good chance that if you said yes to the first question then you said yes to the second question, but here’s the curveball:

Do you consistently respond or engage with them positively on social media?
While it’s easy to like, favorite or retweet, the anonymity of social media has turned the comment/response option into a breeding ground for negativity, sarcasm and quips.

Social media allows us to feel more directly connected to our teams and athletes, but this is a privilege that many take for granted. Game play critiques are one thing, we all have opinions, but there should never be an excuse for death threats, racism, involving a player’s family and other such vile hate that has become all too commonplace.

The irony is most of the negative comments are from people who buy the jerseys and tickets for the people they are insulting. Though a lot of players will say they don’t read comments or let it affect them, truth is – they do and players can struggle when heckling turns into hate.
Trust me, I understand the frustration of being a loyal sports fan – the past few years as a Miami Hurricanes / Philadelphia Phillies & 76ers haven’t been the most cheerful, to say the least. Why would I want to do anything that risks making it worse?

It comes down to this: sports are great, (now I’m going to give you a second to sit down), but they pale in importance to other things in real life. Would you tweet at your boss for a new hire you disagree with? Would you like your doctor to blast you online for unhealthy habits? How would you react if the person you cut off in traffic this morning made public death threats towards your children?

If an athlete angers you to the point where you become so upset it leads to outbursts, rants and colors your view on the game, just breathe and let it go. Seriously, it’s not that serious. Hate is such a wasted emotion – disengage and move on.

Will this change? Optimism aside, this is a growing trend that will probably continue to worsen. The downside to that, it is going to chase away the value of interaction for fan, athletes, teams and everyone involved. Sports should be our break, our getaway, our release. Have fun and remember why you love it. Think before you post and remember there are no championship rings given for being a “tough guy.”
Do you agree? Disagree? There is a comment section below here as well.

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

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