Twitter threats should be prosecuted

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The best thing about Twitter is that it allows pro athletes to interact directly with fans.

The worst thing about Twitter is that it allows pro athletes to interact directly with fans.

And while the latter can create plenty of entertainment when a pro athlete says something stupid or inappropriate without thinking through the consequences of his 140-or-less-character message, threats made to athletes by fans don’t seem to be taken as seriously as they should.

In recent days, death threats have been made via Twitter to Jets (for now) quarterback Mark Sanchez and 49ers (for now) kicker David Akers.  Earlier this season, an untimely penalty resulted in Twitter threats to Redskins receiver Joshua Morgan.  In January 2012, 49ers receiver Kyle Williams received death threats via Twitter after fumbling a pair of punts in the NFC title game.

When death threats are made via any of the various low-tech methods, there’s little question a crime has been committed.  So why aren’t death threats made by Twitter viewed any differently?

They shouldn’t be.  And if/when someone who makes threats like this against a pro athlete is prosecuted, maybe others will think twice before puffing their chests from the protection of their keyboards or phones.

14 responses to “Twitter threats should be prosecuted

  1. I can’t believe I’m defending the Sanchize here, but these “keyboard warriors” have taken things a little too far…

  2. This is a really foul thing to do and it should absolutely be prosecuted but what I’ve take away from recent event is there is just a certain amount of evil and crazy in this world. No new law or ban will ever stop it. One must always remain vigilant.

  3. If I were king, we would all be required to use our actual names on the internet. That would clean up most of this type of nonsense, and make prosecution of malcontents a snap.

  4. This is how the sword cuts both ways – twitter, facebook, and other social media outlets have given fans unparalleled access to their favorite athletes, which allows them not only to connect with their favorite players, but also allows them to vilify anyone who isn’t up to snuff.

    Pull them up on charges. Anyone and everyone who makes a death threat towards anyone on twitter.

  5. Amen! Arrest those POS! Make an example of them for the whole country to see. Our country does not need a culture where it is ok to threaten people.

  6. I think that you are totally correct. I understand being frustrated by an athlete not performing as well as you would like. However, you can look at it this way, it is their job, what would you do if you made a mistake at your job and someone threatened you.

    These athletes are famous, under a microscope, and asked for the fame however they still in the end are people.

    Crimes against them should be held just as important as crimes against anyone else.

  7. AGREED!

    Criticism is okay, but death threats are well beyond the line of appropriate. You’ll start hearing about “my account was hacked” (yesterday) or my phone/tablet was stolen. Blah blah blah.

  8. Can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they did anything unless they admit it. Really easy to claim that you were hacked or that someone else was using your keyboard.

    I think these people should get their butt kicked myself. You can’t prove anything though.

  9. @archetypeobscure – Actually, neither of those claims would hold up. In the case of the “I was hacked” claim, Twitter (or whatever social network) could be compelled to produce the IP address that a given message was sent from. If, for example, a given user usually tweets from California and the threatening tweet is posted from New York, then hacking is a strong possibility. But if it’s the same general area, the defense doesn’t hold up as well.

    Claiming that your brother (or friend, or classmate) was using your keyboard is more difficult to debunk, but ultimately you are responsible for your account and everything posted from it. If your buddy is using your Xbox LIVE account and gets caught cheating, you’re the one getting banned because you’re the account holder and it’s your responsibility. Same sort of thing applies here.

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