ESPN’s Keith Law’s Attempt to Defame Me Highlights Dangers of Social Media Overreactions

I was watching the White Sox game on Monday night when something on the replay of a Jimmy Rollins double caught my attention. What I assumed was a young fan, glued to their phone, head down, while Rollins ripped the pitch into right field. I took a screen shot and made an average at best joke…

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.30.14 AM

It seemed pretty harmless to me. My intentions were simple, we look at our phones too much, myself included, and miss a lot of life that is happening right in front of us. I meant nothing more, nothing less. That was 11PM ET.

There were a couple of remarks and then I went to bed. This morning I woke up to much more.

There was a disparaging remark about my ERA (the usual). Then a few millennials somehow turning this into me insinuating that their generation was dumb and uses their phones too much (we all do).

Then it got weirder. I started getting remarks about asking me why I thought women couldn’t buy their own seats behind the dugout. That was strange. I never even said the person was a woman. It was pretty clear that I believed this person was a teenager.

So I tweeted this…

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.46.16 AM

I poked fun at fake Twitter outrage and how silly it was that people could take something from nothing. I thought it was over. It wasn’t.

I started seeing mentions that also had ESPN’s Keith Law tagged in them. I don’t follow Keith, but respect his work. I assumed he just retweeted me and moved on. But the more tweets I saw I wasn’t quite so sure. So I decided to check it out and found this…

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.37.21 AM

Keith has a huge Twitter presence with over 450,000 followers. He has strong social media influence. He was way off in his assumption. Who outside of the trolls said anything about women?

His tweet didn’t bother me despite the fact that he was taking this in a direction that had no validity. What did bother me was that he quote tweeted me, which means he commented in front of the retweet so that all of his followers could see his comments and then my tweet. He didn’t want to share his opinion with me and make me reconsider what I tweeted or start constructive dialogue, he wanted nearly a half a million people to believe that I was being sexist.

It was unfair and I addressed it with him. He didn’t relent.

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.50.26 AM

I used color splash on the Aviary app to highlight the person in the front row. Color splash turns a photo black and white and then uses the original color anywhere you tell it to. I highlighted our front row fan, to simply show what that person was doing at the time of Jimmy Rollins double. The colors are all original, I didn’t change the hat to pink, it was pink. It seems Keith felt the color was also sexist. I saw this…

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.55.06 AM

The picture highlighted gender? I don’t see a face, I don’t see a body. I see long hair and pink hat. Oh, boys are not allowed to have long hair or wear pink hats? OK, got it. Which one of us is stereotyping gender?

You can make something out of nothing if you try hard enough and that is what Keith did here. Safe to say he is oversensitive to sexism, especially in the sport that he covers. So instead of being objective, he was blinded by he his likely hatred for sexists athletes and quickly tried to throw me in that group and under the bus.

It wasn’t right and it certainly wasn’t fair. The attempt to defame me was a huge disappointment, especially when it came from another analyst in this business. None of what Keith insinuated is true.

I can appreciate people standing up for one another and taking on a cause that does not directly effect them. But we have to be better. Trigger phrases like sexist, racist or homophobe are hot button topics that are difficult to defend without getting shouted down. We throw these terms around way too loosely.

Ultimately we are doing the people affected by real bigotry an injustice. The world becomes desensitized to the topics and accusations the more we try to accuse those that are not actually guilty. Then when it really matters less and less people will give the claims the attention they deserve. Just like the boy who cried wolf.

Be careful what you say and post about others online. And if you really care about a subject, a serious one, address the person with the respect you want back from them. Screaming, yelling and quote tweeting lies doesn’t solve anything and it certainly doesn’t bring us a place of civil discourse, which is the only place where anything gets resolved.

Despite the absence of an apology you’re forgiven Keith.

Also, I have to block you on Twitter since you wrongly took one of my tweets and tried to smear my name to 450,000 people. I’ll miss you. No hard feelings.

You may also like...

14 Responses

  1. Peter St. Onge says:

    So what you’re saying is that you weren’t sexist, but that you were merely a jerk for highlighting one person doing a very ordinary thing, then insinuating that it was wrong. How about an apology for what that person might have woken up to this morning, if she was recognized? You make a great show of being wounded by the sharp edges of social media. A look in the mirror might be helpful, too.

    • CNitkowski says:

      No face was shown, identifying would be near impossible. Nobody cares, don’t make a big deal about something no one cares about.

  2. Ana says:

    You go boy! As a woman I saw NOTHING wrong with what you said. Glad you stood up for yourself.

  3. Chop says:

    I followed Keith for quite some time because I enjoyed his insight into all things MLB, but I think this episode with you made me say siyanara to klaw chat, etc. I realize that when I follow any professional that I’ll get to view some really cool things as it relates to their profession. I also realize that I’ll get to view their personal opinions, beliefs, passions and anecdotes. I’m good with that. If I don’t like them I can scroll right past. What I failed to realize with Keith was that he would use Twitter as a medium for frequently sounding off against his perceived injustices or unfairness in the world and not just that, he could tell us how to make the world a better place to live.

    Yeah, I get it- I followed him, but I think this episode with you confirmed to me that he is a bit of a Twitter jerk. (He may be an absolute peach mano y mano.) And because he doesn’t have to stick to baseball and I don’t have to read, I unfollowed. (And I’m sure he hasn’t slept because of it.)

    Simply said, some folks enjoy making themselves and what they value seem superior to others who don’t share the same values or view point. You made an observation and shared a light hearted comment and he/they took it and made you to be the Twitter jerk.

    Goodness. Stuff like this just makes me shake my head. Thank goodness it’s just social media.

  4. Troy says:

    Totally agree with you CJ. You did nothing wrong and your reaction shows that you meant no harm by your comment. I have read many tweets by Law and Neyer for that matter that have had me shaking my head. They are both ultra liberal/progressives who often recklessly throw out these labels such as sexist and racist based purely on their own hyper-sensitive view of the world.

  5. @vegashitman says:

    People just need to take a chill pill.

  6. Doug says:

    Great, classy response CJ. I don’t know the Keith Law guy, but he totally exemplifies the problems with social media. A drive-by attack on you with an overreaction to an innocent (and funny) tweet. I don’t think you’ll miss him. Keep up the great work! #STJ

    • CNitkowski says:

      Thanks Doug, no, none of us will. I hated wasting the time on this that I did but I won’t be bullied by a PC cop. Especially a lying weasel.

      • andrew stead says:

        Right, PC cops. They ruin everything. Maybe one day a white guy will get a break in this country.

        Or, maybe the last 400 years of history was largely contributed to by white guys saying only things in their own interest and otherwise staying silent. Hard to say. I do enjoy the cowardice of angry white guys lamenting a more tolerant, inclusive society.

        If you are going to criticize someone on twitter, highlight long hair and a pink cap, apparently not notice that the cap was pink, and make a critique that can be interpreted any number of ways, this is what can happen. C’est la vie. You elected to criticize a stranger, and the way you did it was open to multiple reasonable interpretations. You were criticized in return. Heat/kitchen and all that.

        • CNitkowski says:

          I was making fun of a kid looking at their phone during the action of a Major League Baseball game. You don’t like that kind of stuff, don’t look at my Twitter or read my blog. It’s pretty simple. The leap you took from that is fascinating and you are a bigger part of problems than solutions. Not looking for your opinion. Suggest you just walk away next time because I will do it again.

  7. Christopher G. Bates says:

    Maybe the world won’t see this, but at least you will: You’re a coward. And an absolutely reprehensible spokesperson for the religion you supposedly adhere to.

  8. Nate says:

    Isn’t it nice that Keith Law can see a joke and immediately know someone’s intentions? He must be a wizard.

    Seriously, anyone who took that joke as anything more than what you tried showing—someone with a premium seat (that lots of people would love to have) with their head buried in their phone— isn’t worth the discourse.

    It’s a shame people can’t have fun with a joke anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *