The advent of social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook have irreparably changed the athlete to fan dynamic as we know it; to the progressive mind, this is an incontrovertible positive. However, as we've already seen, such direct lines between potentially frustrated fans and potentially frustrated players can also represent a medium for lashing out irrationally, which is just what happened on Sunday night.
Martellus Bennett's much publicized Twitter page saw a war of words of sort following the Cowboys 17-10 loss in Denver on Sunday, as a fan harassed Bennett and the Cowboys in general--and Bennett struck back.
"That's football tho u win u lose anyway it goes u gotta move on to the nx week," Bennett said shortly after the loss. "No time to let one game hold u down."
When the user persisted, Bennett shot back, "@cbeck10 who the f*** are u get a life bum."
And, finally, "Did the game bother me hell yea. We gotta win these type of games I'm pissed the f*** off. But it's over gotta get ready for the nx."
As pointed out on D Magazine's website, which reported this story, Bennett only lashed out after a lengthy series of remarks by said user. But the ugliness of the ordeal is cause for some reevaluation on the part of professional sports figures with respect to such networking mediums. A similar, though possibly nastier episode occurred earlier this year, after the Redskins rookie linebacker Robert Henson took to Twitter in order to vent about the home fans booing the team at FedEx Field in D.C.
Henson began, "All you fake half hearted Skins fan can .. I won't go there but I dislike you very strongly, don't come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!!" The seldom-playing linebacker then went on to attack the fans in question with assertions of wealth and the fact that some of them might be so low as to work "nine to five at McDonald's."
In comparison, Bennett's remarks seem fairly harmless.
But in any case, and not to sound like an overzealous mother on Dr. Phil, the obvious lesson here is that when you tweet, you are speaking in a very public arena with no cover charge, no age limit, no background check; probably in light of this, Twitter was so kind to include a "block user" option.
Next time, hopefully, the athlete on the other end of the taunts will have the good sense to use it.