On Friday, elite media sites like Gawker and BuzzFeed went after an obscure public relations professional who had fewer than 200 followers on Twitter and sent the online mob to destroy her. In the sports world, nobodies have been attacking NFL football players as Fantasy Football–and, in some cases, the high-stakes version–is becoming more popular.
Fantasy football players are routinely taking to online outlets like Twitter to send players death threats and demanding they pay fantasy football players or gamblers back their losses.
Breitbart Sports reported the harrowing death threat New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs received earlier in the year:
This week, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson received death threats as well while other players have had the audacity to demand money they have lost gambling from NFL players:
I lost my fantasy playoff game by four damn points. That’s four bullets for each of you bitches @Bigplaycj @Staff_9–
Joséf Ronaldo (@RoiJosef) December 17, 2013
As NFL players have noted, these online “tough guys” would probably never say such things to the players themselves. Earlier in the year, the man who threatened Jacobs immediately apologized and alleged he was joking when called out:
“Well, they wouldn’t say it in person, that’s the thing,” Lions running back Reggie Bush said. “It’s easy to talk trash behind a computer, so that’s what it comes down to.”
[Lions wide receiver Nate] Burleson seconded that notion.
“Most of those people that throw stuff out there like that are cowards in so many ways because they’re using a screen as a buffer between them and the real world,” Burleson said, “so it doesn’t bother me too much.