America, as a whole, loves its sports. It’s one thing to have the community feeling of rooting for a team, that mutual feeling of a common bond with thousands of people you don’t truly know. It’s another thing in its entirety to wish ill on another human being for a poor performance in a sporting event.
On Saturday, for those of you who somehow avoided the countless videos, tweets, and MJ-crying face memes of Michigan fans, here’s what happened: The Michigan Wolverines (No. 15) lost to the Michigan State Spartans (No. 7) in a battle of instate rivals. Leading 23-21 with seven seconds left in the game, the Wolverines set up a game-clinching punt when a fifth-year senior muffed the punt and allowed a Michigan State defender to score, subsequently winning the game.
The punter, Blake O’Neill, immediately received derogatory comments and death threats on his social media accounts. Tweets like, “jump off of a cliff into a pool of spikes and cyanide” and “I’m shooting up his dorm room” filled his feed within minutes of the game’s closing.
Think it’s just “stupid college kids” making the threats? One user who begged O’Neill to: “kill urself (sic), I’m 10 years old and have been crying for 20 minutes. Honestly kill urself we easily one. Fu**** as*****.” Whether or not the user truly is a 10-year-old, we’re passing down this mentality to younger generations at every tailgate, game and each sent tweet.
It’s one thing to be competitive, feel emotion and get upset because of sports. But pushing 20-somethings (or in some case even younger) to end their own lives, regardless of whether the comment is meant in jest, is a powerful message.
The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Kent Stater editorial board, whose names are listed above.