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It's Just a Game Folks

By Joshua Ryan
On February 17, 2012

One of the great things about sports is the vast range of emotions it can illicit from people. Jubilation, anger, apathy, etc. are all experienced at various points in the game.

Sports fans can, even in the worst cases of fanaticism, manage to stay reasonable for most of the time. Note the word most.

Kyle Williams, a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, unfortunately got to see the very ugly side of fanaticism the night after his two fumbles on special teams lead to his team's loss in the NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants.

Williams has a Twitter account, and immediately after the game, he was bombarded with some incredibly hateful messages. In that regard, it doesn't distinguish him from any other athlete on Twitter after a bad game, except for the fact that he received death threats.

Yes, death threats. Countless numbers of them. Some suggested he simply die; others suggested he kill himself. Worst yet, some actually wished death on his family.

In one of the more surreal moments of the night, one fan told Williams that he hoped he would get lynched and called him the n-word, and then in another tweet two hours later, he told Williams he was a fan and that he just got frustrated.

Some will say that there's a fine line between becoming frustrated and eventually saying something. Well, there's a Grand Canyon sized gap between being frustrated and wishing death on another human being, especially over a sporting event.

Simply put, wishing death on another human being over something so ultimately trivial is reprehensible, shameful and there's no excuse for it.

Of course, death threats in sports have been around for a long time. Bill Buckner and Steve Bartman can sadly attest to this.

However, technology like Twitter allows us to see these kinds of threats up close and traceable from a source, which makes it easier to punish them.

Sports are a wonderful thing, but at the end of the day, they're inconsequential to real world matters. The sun will rise and life will proceed as always, regardless of the outcome of a sporting event.

Perspective is always needed, even at times when it's impossible to find some. Williams did screw up in that game, but he never ever should have had to fear for his life.

When it all comes down to it, it really is just a game.


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