People take things way too far. When everybody learned that Westbrook would be out for the remainder of the playoffs, a lot of people, fans in particular felt devastated. Some so devastated that a ball boy for the team sent death threats via twitter (which are now deleted) to Houston Rockets‘ guard, Patrick Beverley.
In that incident Westbrook collided with Houston Rockets’ guard, Patrick Beverly, in the second quarter of the game on a play where Beverley tried to steal the ball while Westbrook tried to call a timeout. Beverley had no intent on hurting Westbrook however some fans feel as if he did therefore taking out their anger on Twitter, directly mentioning him in manner that has put one of under investigation by authorities.
According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle:
The vitriol about the play in which Westbrook suffered a season-ending knee injury escalated to death threats directed at Beverley, including one from someone who describes himself as a Thunder ball boy.
Mitchell Brown sent a tweet that threatened, “Patrick Beverly (sic), I’m coming to kill you.” He sent another using Beverley’s Twitter handle; “@pavbev21 I’m coming to kill you.”
Capt. Dexter Nelson, a spokesman for the Oklahoma City Police Department, said officers in conjunction with the Houston Police Department and the NBA are looking into what he described as “Internet threats.”
Thunder spokesperson Matt Tumbleson said: “We do not condone his comments. He works game nights on a voluntary basis. We will handle this matter internally.”
Shortly after Thunder officials were told of the tweets, Brown deleted them with an apology: “Yesterday I posted something completely Inappropriate and I need to apologize. I was out of line and it will not happen again.”
He later removed that tweet and said his account was hacked.
“@patbev21 yesterday someone tweeted on my account making a death threat towards you and it wasn’t me. I apologize.”
While the world has incorporated all this new technology for beneficial purposes, some people still feel that they can do whatever they want online without severe consequences. That means running their mouth without punishment. Athletes among celebrities are often subjected to horrific tweets and slurs sent by anonymous people. When somebody can be held responsible for those online slurs, action must be taken.
A forced apology or claiming your online account has been hacked in a situation where somebody threatens another persons life, and is able to see that person and carry out those actions, even if they didn’t mean it, will not get the person off the hook. A slap on the wrist is no way to handle this situation.
It is possible that the person’s account was indeed hacked but sending death threats to an athlete is unacceptable. You can never know if a threat is actually legitimate or not.
If the person behind these tweets does in fact work for the Thunder, even if it is voluntarily, the league must intervene and make sure that person’s job becomes a thing of the past so we don’t have to hear of another incident like this. If you won’t say something in person, don’t say it online.