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Curt Schilling tracked Twitter trolls and put social media ugliness on notice

People have tasked to find ways about how to silence anonymous Twitter users that post threats and bully others.

It only took Curt Schilling a few hours.

Last week, Schilling, a retired Major League Baseball pitcher, proudly tweeted congratulations to his daughter Gabby, who earned an opportunity to play softball in college. What began as good wishes couldn’t live as just that in a snarky Twitterverse, though. The ugly of the social media outlet reared its face, and vile and threatening tweets that demeaned Gabby and irritated her dad screamed putridly loud. The elder Schilling could have picked online fights with these people as others have done with their trolls, but he took real action.

On Dan Patrick’s sports radio and TV show, Tuesday, Schilling said that he tracked down every author of the vile and threatening tweets, and that he planned to take legal action because his daughter is a minor. He also reported the offenders to their employers and schools where some are/were students, which has already resulted in firings and suspensions.

I have written extensively about how athletes, coaches and public figures benefit from using social media responsibly and professionally. What Schilling did was actually one of the most responsible ways someone could attack such threats. He used search tools available to all of us and reported the offenders to people that could take action.

Some may disagree that Schilling shouldn’t have outed the names of the trolls. I have no problem with that. If you’re going to slink to the depths of ugliness to tweet what these people did to and about Schilling’s daughter, you don’t deserve to hide behind fake names and five followers. In fact, if these people had an ounce of class among them, they’d take advantage of their new-found “fame” and publicly admit their errs and apologize to the Schilling family.

As I’ve written, social media reflects society. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of ugly around us and unfortunately, it speaks louder than applause and compliments. Now, as opposed to years ago, it can be smeared within seconds with clicks of keys.

It’s my hope that Schilling’s actions make people who think to threaten or vulgarly troll to stop before they write. They CAN be found and may be outed. Is it worth it to flex a digital muscle for five seconds and have it affect your future? I think not. If you have nothing nice to say – or tweet – say nothing at all.


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