One of the arguments against allowing student-athletes to use social media is how accessible it makes them to fans. Fan, of course, is short for fanatic. To say that people are passionate about sports would be quite the understatement. Online, that passion and fanaticism can and is taken to extreme, and sometimes flat out disturbing levels. We’ve seen “fans” wish death upon athletes through Twitter, call them racial slurs, tell them they are horrible and should give up their scholarship, and any number of other criticisms you can imagine.
Tweets like this are unacceptable. I’m no legal expert, but I firmly believe that legal action should be taken when somebody threatens to take a gun and 30 bullets to a team bus. This is something the Supreme Court is actually considering.
It’s the ugly side of Twitter for many public figures. In an article on Mashable, Bill Voth of Spiracle Media, who works with a number of professional athletes, had this to say about the topic, “Trolls are getting louder and more powerful, and I think ultimately this is one of the biggest threats to Twitter itself.” He’s right. Student-athletes are humans (and, for the most part, kids). Nobody deserves this type of abuse. If something isn’t done, it may drive public figures away from the platform.