Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dead Desmond Howard, Waterboarding, and Other Stuff We Probably Shouldn't Tweet About...

I've never particularly been a fan of Scott Torgerson. Yet, when I felt like sports radio on the drive home, if the discussion was at least interesting, I couldn't turn away. The show was fairly entertaining.

Did Torg say stuff that pissed me off? Sure... probably pissed off a lot of other Columbus Blue Jackets fans, too. Among the most notable gems was his Facebook post in which he said the highlight of the particular CBJ loss of the night was Derick Brassard getting his ass kicked.

The Torg was also generally unapologetic about most of the crap he said on air, on social media, and so forth. He also didn't suffer criticism much. Someone who called him out could find themselves blocked, banned or whatever from his page or his Twitter feed. Understandable to a point. There are plenty of people in the media who just block out unpleasantness on Social. Why not? Hell, as much as people slag Aaron Portzline, could you blame him if he blocked everybody under the sun?

But a post on a Social platform like Twitter... well, that tends to be noticed. And even if you delete it, it's still out there.

And unfortunately for The Torg, he messed with the wrong media organization, when he tweeted that he wished Desmond Howard would be terminated or... well, terminated so he could watch Gameday again.

If 97.1 The Fan is not on the ESPN Sports Network, I doubt we're even discussing this. Without the ESPN connection, I bet the Dispatch Broadcast Group (who owns The Fan) would have been pretty forgiving.

After all, not only did a 10TV news anchor keep her job after flipping off the entire viewing audience of whatever interchangeable cop show was airing at the time (with the "10TV Show You Care" graphic over her shoulder, no less)... they made her the station's Director of Community Affairs after she left the anchor desk.

Unfortunately for the Torg... The Fan is part of the ESPN Radio Network. And so is Kirk Herbstreit.

A lot of people in Columbus dismiss Herbstreit as a tool because he has the audacity to be impartial, to criticize the university for Gene Smith's horrific lack of leadership in the Athletics Department, and to generally refuse to kiss Buckeye Nation's ass 24/7. I bet Herbie's picture was already on a few thousand dartboards in Columbus, even before he... *gasp* stuck up for a... a... former MICHIGAN player.

But if Kirk Herbstreit is ripping you on the radio for tweeting something like what The Torg said, you're pretty much screwed.

Such is the nature of Social. You say crap you can't take back. Anything you say can be used against you, if someone digs deep enough. Look at some of the jackasses in Boston who were spewing racial epithets because an OT goal by a black player eliminated the Bruins in the First Round back in April. I'm sure a few of them had the common sense to at least try to cover their tracks, but we all know even the deleted stuff is out there. Immortalized on the Internet.

Caution is the biggest rule... and it's unfortunate that The Torg paid the price. Sure... what he said was pretty terrible, even in jest. I'm pretty sure we've heard worse. It's entirely possible that the only people upset work at ESPN or are member's of Desmond Howard's circle.

I doubt very many people in Columbus were offended or worried for Howard's safety. Like I said, he played for Michigan. I'm pretty sure Buckeye fandom trumps basic human dignity for quite a few people here. I'm sure the masses who flooded The Fan's Facebook post are at the front of that line.

Speech is free... and that's a guaranteed right. There's no guarantee you'll keep your job if you choose to Tweet something that's going to upset people. And there's a damn good chance you're screwed if you work for a media company. And The Torg's unfortunate mistake is that he messed with the wrong media company. That lawsuit he's talking about filing? Okay, good luck with that.

There's a lesson here.

And while I don't work for a media company...

...and while I'm pretty sure most hockey fans wouldn't be too offended by the idea of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr being waterboarded until they lock themselves in a room and get a hockey season going...

...the post in which I propose a 31-arena tour (gotta get those future Brooklyn Islanders fans involved early) in which fans get to see the aforementioned Expletives in Suits undergo said procedure, will more than likely NOT be published in this space.

That is probably something better off saved for my forthcoming book, Bat$#!+ Crazy Stuff I Wrote But Never Published Because Some People Are Kinda Sensitive.

Check back here for the pre-order link on Amazon in about 20 years.

Although if this Lockout goes much longer, that could be much sooner.

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