As anyone remotely in the public eye can tell you, it’s not always easy dealing with internet trolls. They target your family, your friends, anyone with even a tangential relationship to you. Teenagers have similar stories, dealing with online bullies who can tease and taunt anonymously from the comfort of their own home. When you’re the teenage daughter of a famous (and controversial) figure like former American Major League Baseball player Curt Schilling, it’s doubly challenging.
At the end of February, Schilling posted a simple and proud tweet congratulating his daughter on her entry to college.
Congrats to Gabby Schilling who will pitch for the Salve Regina Seahawks next year!!
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) February 25, 2015
Seems pretty harmless, but the barrage of tweets of a sexually explicit nature about his daughter came roaring in. Shilling, horrified, decided to fight back, earning the badge “Father of the Year.” He wrote on his blog:
I knew every name and school, sport and position, of every one of them in less than an hour. The ones that didn’t play sports were just as easy to locate.
I found it rather funny at how quickly tone changed when I heard via email from a few athletes who’d been suspended by their coaches. Gone was the tough guy tweeter, replaced by the “I’m so sorry apology” used by those only sorry because they got caught.
It was EXACTLY like the Scared Straight episodes you watch where “tough” kids get brought to tears when they face the real world.
What these kids are failing to realize, what this generation fails to realize is this; Everything they’ve just said and done? That is out there now, forever. It can, and in some cases will, follow them for the rest of their lives.
Some of the tweeters faced some justified real-world consequences for their actions beyond just getting booted off their sports teams. One student was suspended from his community college, another part-time employee of the Yankees (Shilling famously disses the Yankees at every given opportunity) was fired by the team.
Yesterday Shilling fought back against those who told him to simply shrug off the comments on his blog:
Hell no. For those of you saying “Just block it” or “get off twitter”, stop reading now.
I would bet 100% of you are either childless fathers or single.
Here’s the thing. You can do whatever you choose when someone tries to verbally or physically attack one of your children. Me? I don’t possess the ‘turn the other cheek’ gene when it gets there.
In a world full of absent fathers and ever-present cyber bullies, Shilling’s response to the tweets has been nothing short of refreshing. Young women, like Gabby Shilling, deserve respect, not threats of rape for simply existing. Fathers of daughters should be more like Shilling, willing to go to bat to protect their daughters, not just physically, but their honor as well. Teach girls that they are worthy of being respected and they will in turn demand respect from those around them when their fathers aren’t around.
Comment below: Do you think Schilling was justified in his actions?