Dec 31, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams (43) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium.

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Seth: Threats against Marcus Williams are vile, disgusting

Seth Dunlap
January 16, 2018 - 8:21 pm
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Every once in a while we see the seedy underbelly of our sports society come out.  Cowards who hide behind anonymous social media handles to abuse, accost, and threaten athletes, coaches, and other public figures.  We’ve seen that happen in the most awful way this week from some supposed Saints fans.

Just like most of you I was shocked, upset, perplexed – heck, emotions I can’t even find words for right now - about that Stefon Diggs season ending touchdown on Sunday night.  We saw safety Marcus Williams sprawl head down under and around Diggs, crashing into teammate Ken Crawley while allowing Diggs to spring unimpeded to the end zone for a touchdown.

It was a bad play.  A terrible play.  One that Williams and that entire defense has undoubtedly practiced countless times throughout the year.  It certainly was unacceptable, rookie or not, to allow that play in that moment in that game. 

You know who knew that more than anybody else?  Marcus Williams. 

Reports are he collapsed to the ground heading back to the locker room after the game and had to be consoled by teammates and members of the Saints staff.  Once he finally made it there, you know what he did?  He spoke to the media through tears and bewilderment.  He spoke to you, the fans, and tried to explain what had just happened.

Those words don’t excuse the play.  Williams would tell you that himself.  Yet it does show the kind of man Marcus Williams is.  A man who is just 21 years old, playing on the most visible post season stage in American professional sports.  A man who had an unquestionably stellar rookie campaign, including a game changing interception earlier in the night against the Vikings. 

There he stood, head high, looking at reporters and facing the music.

How many of you could do the same? I’m certainly wondering if I could.

That made me proud of the team I covered this season.  It made me proud of the man, Marcus Williams, who I had covered this season.

What I wasn’t proud of was what I saw from some, and I emphasize some, supposed Saints fans doing on social media, making death threats against Williams or suggesting he kill himself.  

We hear about this from time to time.  Anonymous losers hiding behind a computer screen throwing the most vile of insults at our public figures.   This week it really got to me.

Here are just some of the examples, and I’m not hiding anybody’s social media identity here because I think these people deserve all criticism that comes their way.  They don’t deserve the online anonymity they are seeking.

@PolaroidStokes on Twitter, an account with over 5,000 followers: 

 

Here’s Lonnie Johnson, a football player at Higgins high school in New Orleans, on Twitter @LsLiving_ :

 

Here’s @brotado40 on Twitter: 

 

From @Fonzi93:

 

These are just a few of the countless threats hurled at Williams this week on Twitter.  It’s just as bad on Facebook, Reddit, and elsewhere across the social media landscape.

It’s vile.  It’s embarrassing.  It’s wrong.

It paints our fan base, all Saints fans, in an incredibly bad light. 

Marcus Williams plays a game, a game, where he literally puts his life on the line for the entertainment of sports fans.  For you @Brotado40, for you @Fonzi93, for you Lonnie Johnson.

We all live in an incredibly volatile time in our country.  The politics of division have driven a wedge right in the middle of “them against us.”  Sports are supposed to be something that’s above that.  Beyond that.   It’s supposed to be something that brings us together and unites us.

Let us unite against the vile and disgusting rhetoric coming from some Saints fans towards Marcus Williams.  He deserves better than that.  We are better than that. 

 

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