The news from the Penn State scandal has slowed down a bit. It's a combination of both lack of any new information and a wait-and-see that people are taking. We've seen some of the allegations, but we don't have all of the evidence for history to come to its conclusion on the legacy's of the people involved. None the less, there is an important issue here that affects Nebraska.
I'm not going to bring up anything else from State College from here out. That is an issue that is being worked out by the authorities. The victims are getting help and will hopefully see the justice that they deserve. It's an issue that is likely happening in your community, too. You can always help with donations to organizations like RAINN or the Penn State chapter of RAINN.
This story is about bullying. Just as younger kids were the victims (of more than just bullying) in Pennsylvania, older "kids" can also become victims at Nebraska. Don't try to draw any connections between this story and the one at State College, PA.
This different kind of bullying revolves around athletes. For the purposes of this story, it revolves around the athletes at the University of Nebraska. We have this wonderful invention called social media. It helps us keep in touch with our friends and informational sources. But it also has created a direct link to athletes that we didn't have five years ago. I can post on an athletes facebook page or send them a message on their Twitter account. As cool as it can be, this also creates a lot of problems for those athletes. Namely, pissed-off fans that take out their frustrations out on these college "kids".
It sucks when the Huskers lose. Die-hard fans of other schools feel the same way when their team loses. But it's a game. These college "kids" (and I hate to use the word kids) go to school to learn about life, to get a degree, and to play the sport that they love. They are human. They make mistakes on the field, off the field, and in the classroom. I was there one time. Everyone of us goes through that stage. I was a college "kid", too. What does that mean really? It means that they aren't quite adults yet, but they aren't kids. They are becoming adults but sometimes they do stupid kid-like things. When those things happen, they get reprimanded like a child would.
So why in gods name are people in social media sending hate messages to student athletes that they are suppose to be supporting? When you dump on athletes, it affects them. They know that they are being scrutinized by people that will rip into them when they aren't perfect and won't return the favor with a pat on the back when they play well. These bullies make me sick. Our student athletes shouldn't have to put up with that crap. Some guy on the internet didn't like how someone played so the have the right to send that athlete condescending messages?
It happens every time we lose. Look, have your opinion. Bitch to your friends at the water cooler or while your wasting your life away at the bar. I don't care. But don't take your opinions to the kids. They don't make enough money for that. Oh wait, they don't get paid. They do it for the glory of winning. They want to win MORE than you want them to win. It hurts them MORE than it hurts you when THEY lose.
Proper protocol when you have an issue with a persons job performance is to take it up with that persons boss. That's what Bo and company get paid for. Even then, your best bet would be to use constructive criticism in your critique of the persons play. If you start your comment/letter/email/whatever with "Dear Bo, You suck", I'm pretty sure it's headed for the trash can at that point.
If you value your opinion and wish for it to be heard, don't act like a (college) kid when you give it or you'll be treated like one and deserve to get your mouth washed out with soap. It's very simple. Act like an adult, and you will be treated as one. Act like a kid and, well, hopefully you can figure out the rest.
I'm not going to post any of the facebook messages or tweets that our athletes get. It would be inappropriate. I do have to commend our student athletes because they tend to handle themselves fairly well. It's unfortunate that they have to get to that point, though. They shouldn't have to be on the defensive from people that are suppose to support them.
So don't send crap to our athletes, or I just might have to start a weekly thread calling out the D-bags on social media who dump on MY athletes. And one last thing. For the 99% of you that are cool on twitter/facebook/etc., stay real. Support your team, especially after defeat. How would it make you feel if you picked up your phone in that locker room after the Michigan game and there were 1000 messages saying, "You'll get em next time", or "hang in there".