By: Brian Mangan
I love the Internet. I mean it, I really love the Internet. I love blogs, I love Reddit, and I really love reading the commentary of smart sports people on sites like Deadspin and Fangraphs and Amazin Avenue and others. But like any organization or conglomeration of people that identify together, sometimes these little communities go awry.
Amazin Avenue today published an article called “Mike Francesa threatens to out creators of Twitter parody account @MikeFrancesaNY”. In the article the author lambastes WFAN radio personality Mike Francesa for attempting to take some action to defend his reputation against a Twitter account that purportedly claims to be him. The action in question would be to reveal the names and the places of employment of the people behind the account. The author and the comments are, to put it lightly, savage[FN1].
[FN1]: Some excerpts from the comments include “Stop complaining you fat fuck”, and “Quit being a bitch and grow a pair”, while the article characterizes his reaction as being inspired only “because they hurt his feelings via a parody account on Twitter.”
Francesa acknowledges that the Twitter account itself might not be that big of a problem if it weren’t for the fact that news outlets apparently sometimes take the quotes from that account and attribute them to him. Although Francesa is right to stand up for himself if that is indeed the case, he is probably wrong for threatening to exposing the identities of the private individuals behind it.
Many commenters correctly pointed out that the proper course of action for Francesa to take would be to address it with those media outlets that are misrepresenting him. We don’t know if he has. But in either event, to sit there and pretend like you don’t understand the source of Francesa’s frustration is silly.
Mike Francesa has a well-earned bad rap among the internet-community, sabermetric-community, and otherwise pseudo-enlightened baseball folks. Many of his opinions are unreasonable, or the results of clear homerism. However not everything the guy says is automatically wrong, and not everything he opines on is a reason for automatic knee-jerk criticism.
Look at the facts: Francesa has a radio program where he does nothing but talk, mostly to himself, for several hours per day. He is bound to say something, once in a while, that he doesn’t mean, or hasn’t thought through, or simply makes a mistake on. I guarantee you that if you or I or anybody else you know had a show where they did what he does, we would make a ton more mistakes than he.
I’m not an apologist, just a realist. I don’t see the novelty in jumping all over him, or endlessly repeating animated gifs, or endlessly bringing up the timer to where he said the wrong thing or tried to cover his tracks by saying something stupid. I know it’s the baseball off-season, but there has to be some better news.
With that said, I’d be interested to know the legalities behind his projected course of action to reveal the identities of the people who run the Twitter account. At the end of the day, the onus is on the Daily News – or whatever news organization is running quotes from that account and pretending that they’re legitimate – to stop doing that, rather than on Francesa to sit there patiently while the issue works out. I don’t blame Francesa if this is true, and I’m interested to see how it plays out, without the Internet immediately painting him as a fat, outdated, moron like they always do.
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Brian Mangan is an attorney living in New York City, and is willing to wait and see how this plays out before criticizing anyone.
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