The way a segment of sports fans treats women in general, but female reporters specifically, is vile, reprehensible, disgraceful, every single negative adjective you can think of. There is no excuse for this behavior. There is no possible justification for calling any woman, but a female reporter in this specific case, names I won't reprint here. There's no justification for threatening women with rape, or with violence so specific that they can't leave the house.
This goes beyond the normal idiot criticism that all journalists and writers face. I've been called names and insulted by conservatives, college basketball fans and Clay Aiken fans. When I wrote about Patrick Kane a few weeks ago, I was called a gay slur on Twitter. One emailer suggested that my wife would soon be leaving me and taking our daughter with her because I was so obviously a weak excuse for a man.
That's nothing compared with what Julie DeCaro and her colleagues have faced.
This is the worst of sports culture. This is the worst of fandom. This is the worst of men
This has got to stop.
And it's up to us to stop it.
It's up to us, fellas, to stop it. It's up to us to share the stories of our female colleagues who face this crap every day. It's up to us to stand up to our readers, our friends, our family members, fellow fans who spew this garbage, and tell them that it is not OK.
It's up to us in the sports media to call out this behavior when we see it, to not turn a blind eye to it, to shrug things off as boys being boys or just part of locker room culture.
It's up to us in the sporting culture to stop incentivizing this kind of die-hard, bro behavior. There's always a fine line between acceptable and unacceptable fan behavior, and too many stakeholders in sports culture profit off these blurred lines - and I include media outlets in this. Being a fan of a team is one thing. Being a fan of Patrick Kane as a hockey player is fine. Attacking and threatening reporters who are doing their jobs because you think they are "unfairly attacking my boy" is not fine. We want people to be fans. We do not want them to be fanatics. As a sporting culture, it is up to us to make that line clear. Even if it costs us some readers, viewers or ticket sales.
If we don't do this, we create a chilling effect. We make it so young women will be less likely to pursue careers in sports media, because who wants to subject themselves to this shit? We make it so young women will be less and less likely to report sexual assaults, because they'll be put through the wringer by the sports bro police.
It's got to stop.
We can be better as a sports culture. We have to be better.
Do me a favor: If you are thinking of a response to this that begins with "Yeah, but ..." or is any kind of justification of this kind of behavior or these actions ... stop. Just stop. In fact, you can leave my site and not come back. Unfollow me on Twitter. It's cool.
I'm all for rational, reasoned discussion and an open marketplace of ideas. Reasoned discussion and the open marketplace of ideas do not include hateful, misogynistic threats against women who are doing their jobs.
We have to do better as a sports culture.
This has got to stop.