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Sports Media and Social Media

(L-R) Steve Popper, Jerry Barca, Gregg Lerner,  Kevin Williams and Frank Garrity
(L-R) Steve Popper, Jerry Barca, Gregg Lerner, Kevin Williams and Frank Garrity (Matt Harmon)

Yesterday I had the pleasure to serve on a Sports Communication panel discussion as part of Monmouth University’s 5th Annual Department of Communications Career Event.

Curt Schilling
Curt Schilling (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

I was joined on the panel by Steve Popper of the Bergen Record, MSG Varsity’s Gregg Lerner, Frank Garrity of 1010 WINS Radio and journalist and author Jerry Barca. We were all invited by Professor Matt Harmon, who also happens to be my play-by-play partner on the Shore Sports Network.

Like everything else sports media has undergone dramatic changes and those of us on the panel shared with the students that for the most part our jobs are very much different when we first entered the business. While these are exciting times in large part because of technology the one thing that has not changed is you are responsible for your words…whether written or spoken.Steve Popper, who I first met many years ago when he worked for the Asbury Park Press, addressed a story involving former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. In case you did not hear about this let me fill you in.

Schilling used Twitter last week to announce that his daughter Gabby had been accepted to Salve Regina University where she would pitch for the softball team next year. He was like many other proud parents using social media to express his pride and congratulate his child. I’ve done so on several occasions because Twitter and Facebook are quick ways to deliver a message. Schilling, who is currently an ESPN baseball commentator has 104,000 followers on Twitter and he tweet generate a fair share of congrats and good luck comments.

But it also brought a slew of crude and disgusting messages that would make any father seek to do bodily damage against those who sent them. When I say crude I mean it and for Schilling to read what young men were saying about his teen-age daughter must have been brutal. The amazing thing is many of these guys were easy to identify including a current Brookdale Community College student who goes by the name of “The Sports Guru.” Give Brookdale credit because once they learned his identity they suspended the student and he’ll face a disciplinary hearing.

The outspoken Schilling waged a war of words with several of those who tweeted nasty messages and while he may have thrown fuel on the fire he was doing what many of us would have. Sunday in his blog “38 Pitches” he wrote an article about what he had just experienced and he talked about how in the real world you are held accountable for the things you say.

For a bunch of young men they are about to find out they are in the real world and their hateful words may follow them in the future.

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