FanDuel - WFBC

April 26, 2012

Some Bruins Fans Took the Loss in a Classy Way: Reactions on Twitter after Joel Ward scored the game-winning goal for the Washington Capitals over the Boston Bruins in game 7. NSFW. Not safe for anyone who hoped we're better than this in 2012.

posted by yerfatma to hockey at 11:21 AM - 29 comments

Kind of amazing that one's first reaction is to post something virulently racist to Twitter.

posted by yerfatma at 08:20 AM on April 26

That is fucking disheartening.

posted by beaverboard at 08:32 AM on April 26

I am all for the First Amendment protecting stuff like that (in contrast to the UK, where some drunk Welsh college student was ultimately jailed for tweeting some racist stuff after Fabrice Muamba went down), but I am also in full support of those people being identified, publicly shamed, and fired from their jobs.

posted by holden at 09:41 AM on April 26

Why fired from their jobs? If they don't tweet as "...an employee of Big Bad Bank", there's no reflection on their employer. I'm as eager as the next person for racist peckerwoods to come to a bad end, but if they haven't publicly identified themselves, I don't think ferreting them out and hounding them out of their jobs is the right thing to do. There are many ideas with merit that are nevertheless considered by many to be even more odious than the n-word, and if you target people who make one kind of unpopular speech, a lot more will be sure to follow.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:46 AM on April 26

Didn't know folks in trailer parks were allowed Twitter accounts.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:11 AM on April 26

lbb -- I guess it depends on how the Twitter accounts are used. Obviously (or at least presumably), these are not coming from corporate PR/social media accounts. But if co-workers, customers, etc. are on the Twitter feeds, this can clearly have a deleterious effect on the employer. My more general point is that there should be consequences for harmful/disgusting speech (or at least that the speaker should not be surprised if there are consequences) -- while the speaker is well within his/her rights to say whatever he/she wants, others are well within their rights to disassociate themselves from the speaker, whether that be in a social sense or, in appropriate circumstances (and subject to employment contracts and applicable law), in an employment sense. My point was less that these folks should be fired, but more in support of the fact that this might be an appropriate consequence. I guess I am not too concerned about the slippery slope here; there are some things that most would agree are beyond the pale, and the use of this type of language is one of them (at least in my opinion).

posted by holden at 10:26 AM on April 26

The truly amazing thing is clicking on some of the accounts and seeing how many of the posters have replied to say they're not racists, e.g.,

"Lmfao at all the people who got mad about my tweet to my friend last night if words hurt u that bad u have problems. Btw it was a joke but" - @Aaron_Revers

Of course others just choose to double down. The strangest part to me is not all of them are Bruins fans. Never knew how much Flyers fans cared.

posted by yerfatma at 10:30 AM on April 26

Taking active steps to get them fired is excessive. But if some of them have to face repercussions for using a public forum for racism, I would not be heartbroken.

Around eight of the users have deleted their accounts and another two posted apologies.

posted by rcade at 11:02 AM on April 26

if words hurt u that bad u have problems

Not sure that the words hurt anybody, especially Joel Ward. I'm guessing he's been called hurtful things by a much better class of human being on other occasions. The words are embarrassing, disappointing, and really fucking sad, but not necessarily hurtful. They kinda make you wish that a savage asskicking was protected "expressive speech" sometimes.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:28 AM on April 26

I think the appropriate punishment here is for the guy who threw bananas during the exhibition season to fire them at these people until everyone gets at least one up the ass.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:48 AM on April 26

I smell a Japanese game show! Or something.

posted by yerfatma at 11:56 AM on April 26

It's times like this I'm kind of glad my workplace blocks access to Twitter and other social networks.

posted by grum@work at 12:14 PM on April 26

holden, I agree that in general, noxious behavior should have consequences. I'm not so sure how I feel about outing someone who has chosen a nickname that is not personally identifying (which seems to be the case with most of the knuckleheads in this case). If I post something in my own name that my company considers damaging, they have the legal right to fire me for it. If I post the same thing anonymously, and someone decides I need to be brought to justice (whatever that looks like), and that individual makes public my name and my employer, and that creates an embarrassing situation for my employer, I think it's quite a bit more murky. I said what I said, sure, but I didn't take the action to embarrass my employer, so why should I take the hit for it? And yet, if someone else took that action and backed my employer into a corner like that, they might feel forced to act.

I'm also torn about this, because if there's one thing that makes me nutty, it's when some closet racist or racist-sympathizer suddenly becomes a brave free speech warrior whenever someone is criticized, no matter how mildly, for using the n-word. Teabaggers literally shouting down opposing views is "free speech", apparently; we can't have those messy Occupy hippies taking up public spaces (wait, what?), so let's not say anything when the cops pepper-spray them and drag them away...but let some stupid fratboy be told that racist epithets are not the done thing, and suddenly this is the biggest threat to human freedom since Stalin kicked the bucket. I hate the idea of spending any effort that could in any way help these knuckleheads. But sometimes, when you create a situation that benefits the right people, you can't prevent the wrong people from deriving some benefit from it too, I guess.

And also, to bring this back to a sports theme: way to go, knuckleheads. You don't have even a rudimentary sense of shame to be embarrassed yourself, but you embarrassed your team and you embarrassed your city. Way to go.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:31 PM on April 26

If I post the same thing anonymously, and someone decides I need to be brought to justice (whatever that looks like), and that individual makes public my name and my employer, and that creates an embarrassing situation for my employer, I think it's quite a bit more murky. I said what I said, sure, but I didn't take the action to embarrass my employer, so why should I take the hit for it? And yet, if someone else took that action and backed my employer into a corner like that, they might feel forced to act.

This people could be managers of their company and hiring people. They are most certainly co-workers of people, and what are the chances that this views do not color how they treat their co-workers? Or customers even? If they get outed for holding these views, I think it would be great.

posted by bperk at 12:37 PM on April 26

Well, bperk, now you're moving the goalposts. Are you firing someone for publicly expressing a view that could embarrass your company, or are you firing someone for anonymously expressing such a view and then being identified by someone else, or are you firing them because of what they think?

People think all kinds of things. As an employer, it's your job to do your due diligence in the interview process to select employees who aren't antisocial and will fit in well in your workplace. If you hire them and they turn out to behave in an antisocial manner in the workplace, it's your prerogative to fire them. But really, do you want to get into the business of investigating people's attitudes and beliefs if they keep them out of the workplace?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:03 PM on April 26

Ward has responded to the twit-o-versy.

posted by rcade at 02:03 PM on April 26

If you hire them and they turn out to behave in an antisocial manner in the workplace, it's your prerogative to fire them. But really, do you want to get into the business of investigating people's attitudes and beliefs if they keep them out of the workplace?

You aren't investigating their attitudes and beliefs. You are acting on only those beliefs that they express publicly. So, yeah, I don't see the problem with that. Once it becomes public, there is no such thing as keeping it out of the workplace. And, it doesn't really matter to me that they thought their twitter account was anonymous or were using some pseudonym.

posted by bperk at 02:11 PM on April 26

are you firing someone for anonymously expressing such a view

Is that relevant here? Half the horror to me is these people aren't hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.

posted by yerfatma at 02:15 PM on April 26

Half the horror to me is these people aren't hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.

Absolutely.

Another thing that bothers me is that it isn't a flash mob or tag team event. It isn't about group-based piling on, as in: "Fuck yeah - what that guy said".

Most of the posters are shouting out individually as if they're hating in their own personal world, seemingly oblivious to what others are saying.

And yet they're all independently coming up with the same thing at the same time, hating in unison like a really fucked up Greek chorus.

posted by beaverboard at 02:27 PM on April 26

It is disgusting and disheartening to see this crap. Gotta say I have a lot of respect for how Ward is responding. While others slide down into shit he seems to bury them further and make them look even worse with his high road approach. I hope this guy continues to perform well through the playoffs, unless the Kings are playing him when he will just be another player in an opposing jersey.

posted by Atheist at 02:41 PM on April 26

yerfatma:

Is that relevant here?

Since one commenter suggested that a good outcome would be to find these people, publicly expose them, and get them fired from their jobs, I think it does open the discussion. Put it this way, they're not identifiable, so I don't think we can say that they would have proudly and publicly claimed those attitudes, no matter how heartfelt they are.

Half the horror to me is these people aren't hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.

Did I miss something? Looking at the article, I mostly see nicks like mastabates23, fishcakeACE, BillyG_2, RealSteezyDubz, etc. Isn't that anonymous?

BTW, I thought the Bruins' reply was somewhat lacking.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:21 PM on April 26

Did I miss something? Looking at the article, I mostly see nicks like mastabates23, fishcakeACE, BillyG_2, RealSteezyDubz, etc. Isn't that anonymous?

I think real names may be attached to those monikers when you visit their Twitter page.

posted by grum@work at 05:39 PM on April 26

BTW, I thought the Bruins' reply was somewhat lacking.

"The Bruins are very disappointed by the racist comments that were made following the game last night. These classless, ignorant views are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization."

I'm not sure what else they should say.

"P.S. Fuck those guys. Seriously."

"P.P.S. Nice non-call on goaltender interference, ref."

posted by grum@work at 05:41 PM on April 26

Did I miss something? Looking at the article, I mostly see nicks like . . .

And their names in some cases and photos in many of the cases as well (plus physical location of lots of their posts). I'll grant you some of the people would be harder to find, but I'm more amazed they'd do it at all.

posted by yerfatma at 07:29 PM on April 26

Those who use Twitter should look for a copy of a Wizard of Id cartoon I kept in my briefcase for years. In the first panel, the King says to Sir Rodney, "This man is here to inspect the prison for roaches." Sir Rodney replies, "Certainly, sir, what kind would you like to see?" In the second panel the Spook, hanging on the wall as usual, says to Sir Rodney, also hanging on the wall, "Your big mouth again?" Since I did most of my work with our customers, I had labeled it "Think before you talk to the customer". This is in the same vein as "Engage brain before putting mouth in motion."

I'm particularly disgusted with Bruins' fans for this sort of sentiment. How easily they forget Willy O'Ree, former Bruin, who was the first black player in the NHL.

posted by Howard_T at 09:13 PM on April 26

Didn't know folks in trailer parks were allowed Twitter accounts. posted by cixelsyd

Yeah, I doubt many were from trailer parks, (and probably not all were from the South, or poor), which means your comment is not only hateful, but doesn't make much sense.

Try condemning the actual people instead of using stereotypes based on the economic conditions / housing choices. You are not helping.

posted by justgary at 09:51 PM on April 26

Age of the internet. It's nice to see that for the vast majority of folk, our standards have risen. I have some confidence that we'll fumble our way through this thing and emerge the better for it.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:36 PM on April 26

Weedy, that's just what I said. Of course, I was in our local high school parking lot with a sign reading, "Will be your prom date, no charge" at the time.

posted by yerfatma at 12:36 AM on April 27

grum:

I'm not sure what else they should say.

Something other than "that's not us". Really, Bruins? Really? Gosh, and here I thought that those tweets came from the team and the coaches!

I don't particularly mean to single out the Bruins; I think this has just become the way the thing is done, that the first reflex is to yell "It wasn't me!", to excuse yourself of blame, when someone does something disgraceful. Shouldn't the first concern be for the target of the attack, and the second concern for the conditions that created it, and doing what is necessary to deal with that? It seems to me that concern for your own spotless reputation should come after all that. But people nowadays don't do that. Their first impulse is to establish that they are blameless, and once that's done, uh...oh...was there some other stuff? I forget...

Of course the Bruins didn't send those tweets. Of course they don't want to be associated with them. And, of course there are a whole lot of other people who also had nothing to do with it and who don't deserve the reprise of, "See, what do you expect, most racist city in America, etc." But the thing about disgrace is, you just have to live it down -- even if you had nothing to do with causing it. You can't make it go away by saying, "Not me, not it, am not either!" Yeah, it's not fair, but that's how it is. That's how disgrace is.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:19 PM on April 29

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