Beyond bad: Women sports reporter writes on ugly tweets she received following comments about Patrick Kane

Julie DiCaro of WSCR, the big sports talk station in Chicago, writes for SI.com a must-read column about the incredible vitriol that filled her Twitter feed after she made comments about the Patrick Kane situation.

It got this bad:

Nine years later, in the midst of the Patrick Kane rape investigation, I found myself working from home Friday, having received a threat on Twitter that hit a little too close to home.

As an anchor for a prominent Chicago sports radio station, I understand my opinions are much more open to commentary now than they were 10 years ago, but this particular tweet contained personal details, and I simply did not feel entirely safe walking to my office. It didn’t help matters that I, like far too many women, am a rape victim, but I wasn’t taking any chances with my safety.

The piece includes actual tweets with vulgar and degrading language. You only can hope the idiots face repercussions. Perhaps, the idiot’s employer will see the tweet and decide the person no longer needs to work there.

DiCaro writes:

While the idea that a certain faction of men resent women’s infiltration into their last bastion of guy-dom seems like something society should have resolved decades ago (along with racism, homophobia, and, perhaps, basic table manners), Andrew Dzurisin, assistant professor of sociology at Middlesex County College, believes Hill and Luther are thinking along the right lines.

“Of all areas of society, I believe men still think of sports as their domain,”​ Dzurisin said. “If you look at American males (especially those with a [high school] education or less), they are falling behind women in many areas. To me, it is ‘This is my turf, not yours.’ If you look at their tweets, most generally articulate they believe in very traditional gender roles. Women working in sports or interested in sports are their worst nightmare. It’s bad enough she is probably outpacing me career-wise, but how dare she try to infiltrate the one area that I believe is exclusively male.”

While it’s tempting to write off the men who send violent and demeaning tweets with a “don’t feed the trolls” mantra, there is something larger at work here. Simply observe hashtags such as #isupport88 and communities like Florida State Twitter any time Jameis Winston’s name comes up, and you’ll see a steady drumbeat of threats, obscene names, and in some cases, a plainly stated desire for rape and retribution. Add in that many accounts used to harass women are either newly created for that express purpose or run by people who systematically delete the tweets after they hit their mark (thus the need to take screenshots to preserve them), and you get a better understanding of the mentalities involved.

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