Until a few days ago I wasn’t a huge fan of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. While he was a big part of the 2004 World Series win for Boston and is arguably the best post season pitcher in the decade of the 2000’s, he’s always rubbed me the wrong way when I see him talking to and/or acting as a member of the media.
His cocksure attitude on a variety of topics, including standing by opinions where it’s been shown he’s wrong, just simply annoys the heck out of me. Because of the way Schilling goes about things he attracts people that want to rip him apart because of his views and statements. On the internet, where anonymity generally rules, people show no fear in saying things to celebrities knowing that there is virtually no chance in anything happening to them because of their words.
So why am I suddenly Schilling’s biggest fan? On February 25th Schilling tweeted congratulations to his daughter Gabby for being accepted to Salve Regina next year, where she will be playing softball. It is, without a doubt, a proud moment for him and his family. Unfortunately some of his detractors decided to use his tweet as an opportunity to attack Schilling, and I’m guessing Schilling usually scrapes those kind of people off the bottom of his shoe and moves on. But some of those people tweeted vulgar things about Gabby, and despite his Christian beliefs Schilling did not turn the other cheek, he went of the offensive.
On his blog 38 Pitches not only does he post the vulgar tweets (and they are the absolute definition of the word, so be forewarned if you decided to click the link and read them) but Schilling posts the results of his brief investigation of who those people really are. I don’t feel the need to name names like he did, but Schilling has put the shoe on the other foot and now the people who thought they were anonymous are having their identities splashed all over the internet.
What I find amazing is the number of people saying Schilling went too far; that he should have just ignored the brain-dead idiots that chose to attack his daughter. The people saying Schilling should have expected that type of response are also causing me some ire, as if just because he’s famous Schilling shouldn’t celebrate the success of his children. To me it’s nothing but victim blaming. So what if one of those guys lost his job, and another is suspended from his college pending an investigation? No one made those boneheads tweet those terrible things, and Schilling didn’t cause those punishments. To me it falls under “if you can’t do the time don’t do the crime”. All Schilling did was shine a light on their crime. The rest is up to others.
If you’re in the “free speech” camp on this issue, thinking those morons had the absolute right to tweet those things, you’d be wrong. Making threats is not allowable under the law, and such not covered by “free speech”. Also remember free speech goes both ways, and Schilling has the absolute right to point the finger at those making such statements.
Obviously with the whole issue being a major news story there’s very little chance that you’re reading this blog post not knowing everything I’ve already posted. So why am I bothering? Well, I’m wondering why people even bother tweeting at celebrities in the first place. Now I’m guilty of it at times myself, but it’s always to people that choose to interact with their followers and it’s an “on topic” reply to something they’ve tweeted about. I’ve had stuff retweeted by local media folks and some of the Boston area news people that’s been relevant to issues being talked about or breaking news I had access to that they might not have at the time.
But in general, what do folks get out of it when they tweet “you suck” or the like at famous people? If you don’t like the person, why are you following them in the first place? If you say you don’t care what about that person has to say, why are you paying attention to what they’re saying? On top of that, why the need to attack that person’s family members? I don’t get it. There’s lots of celebrities I’m not a fan of and not once have I ever considered following them on Twitter or “liking” them on Facebook. I simply don’t get why anyone would bother.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I have been blocked on Twitter by a professional athlete. It’s become a running gag among my friends, one that I never fail to mention when the opportunity arises. Since this is an opportunity, I’ll mention it again. The player is Graham Mink, who was a captain of the Worcester Sharks but at the time of the “incident” played for the Hershey Bears. It began on April 15, 2012 when Mink, angered by the way referee Marcus Vinnerborg officiated the game, threw his stick at Vinnerborg from the visitor’s player’s exit toward the referee’s crease along the boards between the penalty boxes about 100′ away. I tweeted about it right here.
To this day I have no idea if Vinnerborg saw Mink do it, but several of us did, and as I tweeted I know who has the now broken stick. A few days later Mink tweeted something about players needing to have good sportsmanship, so I replied on Twitter asking if it was good sportsmanship that caused him to throw his stick at a referee. I was polite about it, asking in a manner I would use in asking any player standing in front of me a question. It was a 100% valid question asked in a professional manner.
He didn’t answer, he instead blocked me.
To be honest, I’ve gotten so much mileage out of that story I should probably pay him royalties. Perhaps someday I’ll get the answer to my question, although I’m not holding my breath on ever getting the chance. But Mink was well within his rights to block me, just as I’ve blocked others for whatever reason I felt it needed to be done. I’m sure Schilling has blocked more than handful of people, but I’m betting none of those were because they asked a legitimate question in a professional manner.
In the case of his tweet about his daughter Schilling decided blocking the offenders wasn’t enough and fired back. Schilling’s response, which reached far more people than any of the offending tweets, proves the adage that you don’t pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel and paper by the ton.
And you certainly don’t pick a fight over that guy’s kid.