“Fans Use Social Media for Wrong Reasons” Written By Bill Plummer
It is a sad commentary about people and their use of social media, as seen following the outcome of the recent Michigan State-Michigan Big Ten football game. After all, it's only a football game, one team wins and one team loses.
Unfortunately it isn't that simple to some of these people who made hateful, threatening comments to the Australian-born Michigan punter Blake O'Neil, who mishandled the snap from center and lost control of the ball. The ball was picked up by a Michigan State player who ran into the end zone for a game-winning last-second touchdown.
The announcers for both schools and the thousands of fans watching probably couldn’t have believed what had just transpired in front of them. But that’s sports, where things are never predictable. It was the second loss for Michigan and left Michigan State still unbeaten.
Why add insult to injury and say something over social media about the player and his misfortune? Because we have in society people who are sick, and they of course never have made a mistake. But the social media gives them a forum, and they use it for the wrong reasons.
In fact, one fan suffered a heart attack, unmentioned if the fan was a fan of Michigan State or Michigan. The heart attack occurred either during the play or right after. A fan close by came to the person's aid and started CPR immediately while waiting for medics to arrive.
The person was transported to the hospital and survived. Thank goodness for that.
Some of the comments from people on social media were down right disgusting. This was compounded by some hate tweets from fans, some going as far as telling O'Neil to commit suicide. Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett publicly denounced the comments in a letter.
Unfortunately, some people are out of control when it comes to attending athletic events. And some of them are either drunk or almost drunk. What else would you expect? Sane, responsible people who act like adults we would hope wouldn't make such outrageous comments.
What if O’Neil was their son or a relative? How would they feel in the long run? It's time people take athletic events for what they are—sports events—and get realistic about the outcome of the event.
And of course, social media doesn't help in the least. It just gives a forum to say something stupid and hurtful. There will always be a small percentage of people who don't understand what athletic events are all about and that winning at all costs doesn't work.
|Bill Plummer A graduate of Indiana University, Ind. Bill has been involved in softball for more than four decades. For 30years he was a fixture at the ASA National Office as a communications coordinator, manager of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and historian. In addition, he also served as the editor of the ASA official newsletter, The Inside Pitch, and as the Trade Show Manager. He has written widely about the sport and has contributed to 14 books. In 2009, he authored “The Game America Plays.” In 2012, he co-authored “Best of the Best-Women’s Fastpitch.” In 2014, ” A Series of Their Own. The History of the Women's College World Series.” He has been elected to five halls of fame, including the ASA National. In 1996, he served as the Information Manager for the debut of softball in the Olympics.|
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