A Twitter Fight Brandon Marshall Cannot Win

About 10 days ago, the Chicago Bears lost a game to the Green Bay Packers. When they lost, their record put them below the Detroit Lions. It should have ended there. It didn’t.

Brandon MarshallAs fans sometimes do, a Detroit Lions fan sent out a tweet to Chicago’s Brandon Marshall. He called Marshall a b***h. OK, I’m going to lose it over that if I am Brandon Marshall. Then the “fan” went on to call Marshall’s mother a whore.

When Marshall saw the tweet, he challenged the fan to a fight on Twitter where the proceeds would go to charity. This started a back and forth between the fan and Marshall where Marshall even upped the ante from $5,000 to $10,000 if the fan would fight him. Marshall wants this thing to get bigger because he says he doesn’t like bullying but the Bears, to their credit have told him to back off and dial it back.

I totally get it

The first thing I want to say is that the fan is an idiot. There are certain things you don’t say, and the fan crossed the line. The second thing I want to say is that the fan is an idiot (yes, I am repeating myself). I wonder if the fan has ever stood next to a professional football player. Unless the fan is a heavyweight MMA fighter (BTW, the martial artists I have known have been pretty great guys and would never say anything that stupid), Marshall will flatten him. It could get very ugly after the first 30 seconds. I mean, real freakin’ugly, as in “Call 9-1-1 ugly.”

I get that you don’t call someone’s mother a whore. I also get that Brandon Marshall ultimately cannot win this fight.

Who is the fan?

In his mind, maybe Brandon Marshall pictures some fat couch potato, 25 years old, hiding out in his parent’s somewhere in a suburb of Detroit. But this is Twitter and this is the internet. The fan could also be an angry, 12 year old girl in Boca Raton, an 88 year old man confined to a wheelchair in Lodi, California or a hi-tech troll living in Bangladesh who has never seen a game of football.

Getting into a fight on Twitter is punching the air. Getting into a real fight with a fan will land Marshall in court. Fans often say stupid things because that is what they do. You don’t rise to the bait. As maddening as it is, you walk away.

There are about 500 million Twitter accounts and about 270 million are active. The troll would have been quickly swallowed by a sea of Chicago Twitter followers. The troll would have just gone away as trolls do. Trust me Brandon, every time I point out an unethical action by a member of a team, I usually get unfollowed or get a comment. Sports Ethics has nothing to do with one team over another, it deals with choices and consequences.

So if I blog about a player who cold-cocks his wife in an elevator, then drags her off and tells the hotel staff not to call the cops, it’s got nothing to do with whether your team is a playoff contender or the part of the country where the player lives or how many yards he ran for the season before. I-could-care-less. Certain behaviors are unethical and there are consequences with those actions.

I teach a program on the social media; actually three of them: for associations, for collegiate players and for professional athletes. It is one of many programs we teach. Here is some free advice: Block the Troll. Once you do that, he or she or it will disappear. At the end of the day, you will be successful and a professional and the Troll will still be a pathetic loser.





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