Because of social media, we live in a time during which nearly anyone can be heard by many with relative ease. That's an upside. A downside: What happened earlier this month with Milwaukee Brewers slugger Khris Davis.
Davis says he was the subject of a death threat via Twitter when the Brewers played on the road against the Chicago Cubs nearly two weeks ago. The Brewers told Major League Baseball security of the threat and the league investigated, later telling the team the matter has been "handled."
It was a scary distraction at the time for Davis, who has struggled occasionally at the plate during his first full major league season. At one point, Davis said, a talk with manager Ron Roenicke helped to settle himself down. Reporter Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes:
The tweet, attributed to "Xero Vanderbilt," referenced Davis' Twitter name and, using a racial epithet, said "You (sic) family should all be killed."
This couldn't be treated like, "I'm gonna kill the ump!" or other impulsive phrases people might shout at a game. Like a ballpark, the internet is replete with individuals who will make stupid statements just for attention. But the generally dangerous state of the world also makes some of these threats too dangerous to ignore. Being unable to correctly conjugate a verb doesn't mean the same person couldn't put poison in a letter, make a bomb or fire a gun in order to harm someone.
"It is serious when that happens," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Journal Sentinel. "We were just told it was handled. We don't get involved with it. We don't get details of it. Anything that is deemed serious, we all have MLB security at every city we go to. We have a card with a number (to call).
"You can't [take it as a joke] today if you look at the stuff every day on the news. We were told it's been taken care of. I'm sure it was [distracting]. All this social media stuff, people think that it's good. A small percentage of it is good, to me."
Davis is far from the first MLB player to get death threats, and he won't be the last. In Hank Aaron's day, when he was chasing Babe Ruth's home run record, snail mail was the preferred medium. Those kinds of threats still happen, too. Social media simply adds another layer that needs securing.
Sites like Twitter make threats much easier to make, if not to carry out.
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