Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin hasn’t been on Twitter since he left the team amid allegations that Richie Incognito and other players had bullied him. But New York Times writer Jonathan Martin has been on Twitter, and he’s getting an eyeful from people who are confusing him with his NFL player namesake.
Much as Ravens radio announcer Gerry Sandusky has been besieged on Twitter by people confusing him with former Penn State assistant coach and convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, the journalist Jonathan Martin is hearing from football fans across the country who don’t realize that he’s not the Jonathan Martin at the center of the Dolphins bullying case.
In a New York Times article about the situation, Martin writes that he first found it funny but has come to be appalled by how many obscene, angry, threatening messages people have fired off.
“As the story has intensified and misplaced 140-character assaults have piled up, though, the misunderstanding has lost some of its charm,” Martin writes. “I feel bad for my fellow Jonathan Martin — lord knows what his Twitter feed looks like — but the whole affair has also been a reminder about how ugly discourse can be on the Internet. During campaign season, nasty, even abusive, emails and Twitter messages are standard fare for political reporters. Partisans (or, in this case, fans) say things online they would never contemplate saying to the face of a stranger, let alone one the size of the brawny Jonathan Martin. As one person said in a message to me this week, it is ‘keyboard courage.'”
That kind of keyboard courage is no kind of courage at all. People who harass others while hiding behind the anonymity afforded by the Internet are cowards. And people who can’t even figure out how to harass the right person are stupid in addition to being cowardly.