Philly.com’s Pattison Ave. sports blog has an item this morning about a Bloomsburg University baseball player tweet attacking Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s Mo’ne Davis for being popular and female. It’s a pattern that has become all too familiar for social media.
Davis, for anyone who inexplicably doesn’t know, was a sensation in last year’s Little League World Series, in which she was not only the first female pitcher to throw a shutout in the series, but the first African-American female to ever play in it. She was a sensation across the country, and even more so in Philadelphia where she and her Taney Dragons team were a welcome break from the city’s usual sports ineptitude.
But back to the stupid tweet. The Bloomsburg player, a first baseman (and apparently a very good one) Joey Casselberry, took to Twitter to post his reaction of news that Davis’ life is coming to the big screen. His tweet:
Disney is making a movie about Mo’ne Davis? WHAT A JOKE. That slut got rocked by Nevada.
The Philly.com story reports that Bloomsburg dismissed Casselberry from the team. His Twitter account was deactivated, and he issued the following apology:
“An example that one stupid tweet can ruin someone’s life and I couldn’t be more sorry about my actions last night. I please ask you to. … Forgive me and truly understand that I am in no way shape or form a sexist and I am a huge fan of Mo’ne. She was quite an inspiration.”
Casselberry’s actions are stupid and demonstrate, yet again, why you should never tweet before thinking. Worse is how his tweet demonstrates how well-established the route of sexual denigration seems to be whenever the target is female. It’s one thing to think Davis doesn’t deserve a movie. It’s another to throw around the insult “slut” like it’s no big deal.
But such is the pattern today — from the finally waning sexist screeds of “gamergate” to recent, unprovoked attacks by Twitter trolls on former Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling’s daughter. Some of these episodes can and have been explained in part by the license of online anonymity. Casselberry’s tweet, however, was out in the open. And it probably never even occurred to him that the sexist stab was even sexist. It probably rolled right off his thumbs as he tapped the tweet into his phone.
Such examples are not boys being boys. There’s a real problem with how familiar we all are with sexist and sexual attacks leveled at women. Perhaps the post first, think later nature of social media is simply exposing attitudes that have always been there (I think this is probably true). Whatever the case may be, it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
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