A's blogger fired by SB Nation after ugly Twitter rant aimed at Kyler Murray

Oklahoma quarterback <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/255122/" data-ylk="slk:Kyler Murray">Kyler Murray</a> was attacked online by an <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/oakland/" data-ylk="slk:A’s">A’s</a> blogger after news broke that he’ll be entering the NFL draft. (Getty Images)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was attacked online by an A’s blogger after news broke that he’ll be entering the NFL draft. (Getty Images)

Kyler Murray appears to be changing his mind about a professional baseball career, as news broke Wednesday night that he’s expected to declare for the NFL draft. It was something that baseball fans — particularly Oakland Athletics fans — have had months to think about and even expect.

Last summer after being selected ninth in the MLB Amateur Draft, Murray committed to joining the A’s after he played one more year of football at the University of Oklahoma. But that one year turned into something special. He won the Heisman Trophy, put up crazy numbers and appears to have a bright future ahead of him as a quarterback. He’s also 21 years old, an age where young people are often changing their minds about their future.

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Wednesday’s news wasn’t out of left field. A deadline had been looming, with many signs pointing toward Murray doing an about-face and picking football. While it wasn’t a shock, it sure did enrage one blogger who covered the A’s for SB Nation.

Jen Rainwater, known as “Baseball Jen” on social media, unleashed a Twitter rant that included middle-finger emojis, name-calling and a declaration that she wouldn’t care if he’s “critically injured” on the football field. The tweets, since deleted, read as such:

(Yahoo Sports)
(Yahoo Sports)

That’s harsh even for a fan, but extremely unprofessional for a blogger who covers a team, like Rainwater did for Athletics Nation. She was criticized heavily on Twitter on Wednesday night into Thursday morning, with other people sharing their harsh run-ins with her online.

Then Thursday, Athletics Nations announced it was firing her from her position as a featured writer.

Rainwater deleted her Twitter feed, and published a response on Facebook aimed more at people on Twitter who were recounting their bad experiences with her. That was also quickly deleted.

This whole saga is a harsh reminder of what can happen when the lines between fan and journalist get blurred, as they so often are in 2019. Sites like SB Nation turn to fans to blog for them (often for free or well below market value). They give the fans extra credibility and exposure, and consequently an increased responsibility to behave online.

Publishing the voice of the fan is one thing, but it also comes with the risk of getting the overboard emotion of the fan. Most fans who venture into the blog game conduct themselves with the necessary amount of tact and professionalism, but when things go awry with fan bloggers, it can get extra ugly.

Plenty of fans use social media as an outlet to send hateful things to players. Just ask Bears kicker Cody Parkey. But there’s a definite line between fans sending mean tweets to athletes and people who identify as bloggers and journalists doing it.

The former is unfortunate. The latter is unacceptable.

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