You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.
Advertisement

Madness

You've gotta love social media. It facilitates craziness like nobody's business.

This after San Francisco 49ers kick returner Kyle Williams received death threats via Twitter and other social media vehicles because of his overtime fumble in the NFC title game that punched the Giants' ticket to Indianapolis and Super Bowl XLVI.

In response, Williams' father, White Sox GM Kenny Williams lashed out at the "culture of sports" in America, suggesting it's become a sour and twisted thing.

He's not wrong, even if he is a little late to this party. Fact is, sports have always made people insane in America; anything that can compel a 40-something man to paint his face in the school colors and don the jersey of a kid half his age suggests a frightening power to warp judgment and corrode perspective.

And that's not even bringing up those lunatics in Oakland or the Dawg Pound in Cleveland, where grown men wear dog masks, throw dog biscuits on the field and (one suspects) occasionally eat them.

And so you can go back to the turn of the last century and beyond, and find kindred souls to Kyle Williams this week. Death threats are nothing new in sports; the difference now is how easily it is to invade someone's personal space with them.

You'd love to get inside the head of some of the sick twists who've threatened Williams this week -- including a few who threatened the wife-less, child-less Williams' wife and children -- but it would probably be a fruitless exercise. The sort of impulse that drives them would remain inexplicable, and any attempt by them to explain it would be like listening to a man speak Martian. It simply would not compute.

You can blame the makeup of those individuals for that, and you should. But the "culture of sports" to which Kenny Williams refers isn't blameless, either. Any culture that spawns an entire network devoted 24/7 to games is not a culture grounded in reason, nor does it promote it.

When you're continually being told how important something is, even when it's not, you come to believe it. And sometimes you come to believe it too much.

Your home truth for today.

Ben Smith's blog.

Advertisement