Can't Take the Heat
The art of the Twitter hater is something to be marveled at. Anyone in the world can hide behind a username and shout obscenities at anyone for no charge. Too bad public enemy number one in the NHL right now is Dallas Stars forward Eric Nystrom for his hit on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.
This isn't the first time Nystrom has been attacked on Twitter, as his controversial hit on Oilers prospect Taylor Fedun drew the ire of the Internet back in the preseason.
One Pittsburgh Penguins fan under the guise of @hale_storrrm tweeted at Eric Nystrom last night, calling him a "dirtbag" and a "piece of shit" for the hit. Nystrom, already under fire from thousands of other angry fans, tweeted back at her with a shot of his own, calling her "ugly", and continuing on to defend his hit and call her a biased Penguins fan.
Suffice it to say, this brewed into quite the conflict.
Haley Ward, the person in question, took extreme offense to being called ugly. Ugly or not, calling Mr. Nystrom a "dirtbag" and a "piece of shit" is a pretty vicious set of insults. Ugly comes nowhere close in comparison to those pretty harsh words. Nystrom also followed up his next tweet with "in all seriousness," so take that as you will.
Still, if you can't take the heat, don't you dare say a word to anyone.
It makes you wonder why sports make us so clouded. It gives us reasons to legitimately hate another person, even though all they do is like a team from another city. It is seriously concerning if you look at it like that.
Even after all of the arguments, for whatever reason, Ward then tweeted "what started as hatred has turned into a friendship." Yeah, right. I'm pretty sure calling someone the two select words she used can only cement her into the "forget her and move on" box.
I'll put all of my tweets on the matter last night into the next paragraph:
"It's amazing how sensitive people are to chirping on Twitter. Nystrom is getting annihilated again because he chirped back at a chirper. Honestly, don't chirp if you can't take it. Nystrom's hit on Letang was unfortunate, but it was not premeditated nor dirty. Period."
I found it rather hilarious that Ward retweeted her friends during the conflict, saying that ESPN is going to pick up on the story and flush out Nystrom for being a slanderous villain, when in fact, ESPN does not exactly care about hockey, as I believe the figure was that it encapsulates 2% of the programming on ESPN over a month's span. Secondly, it wasn't slander.
As a side note, people seriously need to really learn and understand what exactly slander is. That's besides the point. Take a media law class, and then we'll talk.
The point of all of this is that people wonder why hockey players are some of the most boring people on Twitter. All people have to do is go back to how fans ran Dan Ellis out of the house with the ever infamous hashtag #danellisproblems, or how fans treat players when they get suspended. If you have a Twitter app that can show you other peoples' mentions, I dare you to look at Brendan Shanahan's mentions.
It's no wonder then that they tweet about "going to practice" or "getting the big win and the two points." Anything else is simply fodder for the anonymous Twitter haters to pounce upon and rip the player to shreds. Honestly, if I make it in this business of broadcasting, I'm simply afraid to stay on Twitter. It's scary.
These players are not given the opportunity to flaunt their personality because it comes across as "unprofessional" or not being a "role model." Why in the world would it be appealing to be on Twitter when some people are seriously out to bring down players with pretty defaming words? Athletes are pretty brave in that sense.
Fact of the matter is that people on Twitter with the intention of bringing people down need to calm down and let players be themselves. It's not worth telling them that they suck, or that they can't score, or that they are a "dirtbag" or a "piece of shit." You can not and should not be able to get away with that.
The lesson today is this: show some respect. No one deserves to be called choice words like that, even in the heat of the moment. Don't let yourself fall that low. It's for the best of all of us.
What's your take? Leave a comment in the box below! Stay tuned to The Checking Line for more on your favorite teams! Also, check out fellow Stars writer George Royle's previews and recaps!
Follow Jordan on Twitter (@jckuhns)