Just Leave Them Alone

When you have almost lived on this world for three decades, you start to notice the same type of stories retold by the media. The only difference is that the names and minor details are changed. I have written about these rehashed stories before such as someone turning a really old age or a restaurant server receiving an enormously large tip. The news outlets will make it seem like a rare occurrence but in reality it happens all the time. Oh well, at least the news is good.

However, this isn’t always the case.

There is one certain scenario that always plays out several times each year. It has to do with sports. It has to do with exploiting someone’s worst possible moment. It has to do with taking something way too seriously.

Do you know what I am talking about? Well, here is a hint…it happened in Ann Arbor this past weekend.

I am so sick of hearing the horror stories about athletes who make an error on the field or on the court that costs their team a victory and the brutal backlash that ensues. The poor athlete who makes the mistake, usually at the collegiate level, is subjected to social media cruelty and, yes, that two letter phrase….death threats.

This scenario makes me mad for a few different reasons.

First off, no athlete should ever be tormented on social media or have his or her life threatened because of performance on the field. Do I really need to say much more? This isn’t really even a cliché argument, it is just a no-brainer. The absurdity and stupidity of even thinking about doing something like this upsets me a great deal.

Secondly, just the thought of the actual people who make these threats gets my blood boiling. As I said, the principle of it all is maddening enough, but then thinking about the low-lifes who actually make a decision to lash out at these young people in the worst possible way drives me insane. Who are these folks who think acting like this is in any way acceptable? How selfish, dark, and aloof must you be on the inside? As I said, having the thought cross your mind that someone deserves to die because of a tough break on the field is bad enough; but to actually go through with the threat is atrocious.

However, the third reason that upsets me might not be so obvious. I become frustrated with how the media reports on these stories. I get it that they have to show the replays over and over. But what bothers me is how the press spends so much time and energy on the backlash. They crave how these young people become stomping mats for delusional fans and take great lengths to report on the tweets, message board posts, and death threats. Don’t get me wrong, they try to convey the information in a sympathetic way but it is completely counterproductive.

When the media reports on all the hateful acts, they just keep the episode on everyone’s minds and the wounds fresh. They delay the time period for the athlete to compose himself. How can someone begin to move on when media outlets are still talking about how he is the most hated person in the state? I think it becomes overkill.

Unless an athlete personally tells a member of the media that he has received death threats, I would like to see this information go unreported. Leave it up to the police to find the losers and arrest them. Also, once the weekend is over and the focus turns to a new opponent, just let the incident go. No more need to debate how bad the athlete screwed up, no need to cut up a montage of 20 different replays of the error, and no need to show countless “trending” social media posts.

The “suffering athlete” story is old. I think it is time we leave these people alone and let them get on with their lives. Don’t Blink.