Note to Bullies: This guy is very good at striking people out, so think twice before you are cruel!
You may be aware of the recent controversy that arose when Curt Schilling, former Red Sox champion and three-time World Series winner, tweeted about how proud he is of his 17-year-old daughter Gabby, who is going to college next year at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island to pitch for its Seahawks softball team.
Deplorably, the famous pitcher’s kudos for his child was greeted with some horrid tweets from people that were graphic, cruel, and downright abusive. Schilling posted some of the disgraceful tweets that even broke the law—attacks against his daughter, who is still a minor.
A devoted dad, Schilling was not willing to walk away from what had transpired. Taking action to hold people accountable, he researched and EXPOSED the cowards hiding behind their Twitter handles in cyberspace. Once revealed, everyday heroes turned over the identified thugs—and good for them!
One digital assailant, for example, was from a community college in New Jersey, and another man was a part-time ticket salesperson for Red Sox rival the New York Yankees. Some of the tasteless tweets even came from students at Salve Regina University.
Speaking to their actions, Schilling said in an interview,
“This is not Twitter’s fault or the Internet. That’s like blaming Ford for someone being run over. This is people. None of these people want to be connected to anything they said. There’s a reason for that. Now the goal is, if you’re a young lady and being harassed, first of all it’s against the law. As a young lady and a human, no one, anywhere, ever, is allowed to talk to you that way. Under any circumstances. If you’re a man and you do this, you’re not (a man). Being a man is about having integrity. This isn’t a mistake. This is a malicious attempt to be evil, and if you talk like this you’re a piece of garbage.”
So what were the outcomes with the people who tweeted the explicit and violent things about Schilling’s 17-year-old (read: minor) daughter? It’s a hard-hitting lesson. Of the aforementioned perpetrators, some were suspended from school, some were kicked out, and one was released from his employment with the Yankees. And all must regret that the offense will be inked on their records.
As explained in a recent column that I penned for the Star-Ledger, digital footprints can leave scars forever, so we must post and tweet wisely. I suspect the men who typed these nasty things are regretting clicking “Tweet”, because Schilling has clearly thrown right back at them a curveball with some heat.
Parents, share this cautionary tale with your older kids. Many of us learn best with examples of what not to do and why. They might mistakenly think that they’re anonymous online, but this case study proves that they can still be held accountable for their actions—think before pressing send.
Hopefully we can draw inspiration from the Shillings’ experience, as cyberbullying is spreading its tentacles. I recently learned from my teacher friend, who is a mom of teens, about a website called “Smack High”. Apparently there are “Smack” sites for various states. You can gather—thanks to the appropriately reflective title—that these websites glorify “talking smack” and saying unkind things to each other about athletics and other school topics. I went onto one of the “Smack” sites and was as disappointed as I expected to be…NOTHING positive or productive at all.
So, a couple questions come to mind: Why are people promoting this negative energy, and how can we fight love back with kindness and encouragement?
Reminds me of the Coke commercial: Let’s all flip things around to the positive.
Well, Mr. Schilling, I hope your lovely daughter Gabby has a strong career like you have achieved and absolutely loves Salve. As an alumna, I can say that I sure did. I noted that you were a good guy for all you have done to raise awareness around amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) sufferers, and of course, thought you were super tough when you pitched a win with a severely and visibly injured ankle during the 2004 American League Series against the Yankees …but, now, I really think you are a superhero—you WEAR THE CAPE!