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Jan 27, 2013, Honolulu, HI, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson (83) sends a tweet on twitter during the 2013 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The ugly side of NFL fans and social media

What makes someone threaten the life of another person over a missed field goal, dropped touchdown pass, or turnover? As many times as it has been written about already, the downside of fans getting so close to NFL players via social media, it still keeps happening. Social media is an otherwise fantastic medium by which fans can connect with their favorite NFL players like never before. But, like most things, a few Jagoffs can ruin it for the rest of us.

Some players will retweet or favorite the threatening or nasty messages they receive from fans. Can you even imagine the amount of threatening messages players get that they just ignore or delete? I’m all for getting fired up about a game and all but I’m not threatening to kill the kicker for missing that potential game-winner simply because the anonymity of social media allows it at times. I’m not doing it because I’m a fan, not a psychopath.

I’m not one to grade fans or qualify us in any way. I feel like everyone is in charge of their own fandom. I’m not into the whole “you’re not a real fan if you do…” or “only real fans do this…” because it’s just silly. There’s nothing more annoying that someone trying to tell me what should make me a good fan or not. I try not to include the people who feel it necessary to threaten Brandon Jacobs, Robbie Gould, Colin Kaepernick, Emmanuel Sanders and countless other athletes in the same category as fans. The moment you cross that line to send a death threat to another person over a football game you’ve waved bye-bye to fandom and entered the realm of mental disease or defect.

You hear it every week with a player or coach getting death threats. I’m not talking about the “You suck” tweets or Facebook posts. It’s a little childish but, hey, freedom of expression, right? If you want to tell someone they suck simply because you feel like it and you have the platform, fine, be prepared if they respond to enlighten you about how much you may suck as well though. The one thing that fans need to realize is that the players don’t owe us anything. If you’re the type to think that your purchase of game tickets, jerseys, t-shirts, and other swag entitles you to address a player in any way you see fit, even a threatening manner, than you need to stop and reevaluate what’s important to you.

Social media is very entertaining. If you don’t believe me just go on Twitter and search for mentions of NBC’s Sound of Music Live. Some of that is funny stuff. Then there are the random idiots with the “you should kill yourself” tweets and then you’re just like, “great, one a-hole ruins it”. Don’t be that a-hole. Use Twitter and social media with NFL players and other fans responsibly, or hilariously.

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