When Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Phillies legend Curt Schilling watched his daughter, Medfield (Mass.) senior softball pitcher Gabby Schilling, sign a national letter of intent to pitch at Salve Regina, he took to Twitter to announce his pride to the world. What followed was a nightmare for any parent, and the softball star herself.
Within hours of Schilling’s initial tweet, he’d been greeted with a number of tweets that made relatively mild and mundane yet still lewd references to dating or being involved with Gabby Schilling once she reached Salve Regina. That led to the following tweet:
From there, things went downhill very, very fast. Social media users who could only be described as “Twitter trolls” attacked Schilling and his daughter viscerally, threatening her health and wellbeing. We won’t embed the more graphic tweets that came in to Schilling’s account here, but you can see many of them at a blog post Schilling authored at his 38Pitches blog.
Needless to say, there is no place anywhere for what these social media users did to Schilling’s daughter. Some have since suspended or canceled their Twitter accounts.
That might not be enough. Schilling mentioned on Twitter that he had screenshots of many since-deleted tweets, and that he was compiling them in anticipation of possible legal repercussions, which could include sexual harassment of a minor. He also allegedly sent groups of the most disturbing tweets to the parents of some of the users who sent them, calling two New Jersey college students out in particular.
According to Schilling’s post, some of the college athletes who tweeted at Schilling have already been suspended, and since sent him email apologies.
This is a generation of kids who have grown up behind the monitor and keyboard. The real world has consequences when you do and say things about others. We’re at a point now where you better be sure who you’re going after.
If I was a deranged protective dad I could have been face to face with any of these people in less than 4 hours. I know every one of their names, their parents, where they go to school, what they do, what team they are on, their positions, stats, all of it. I had to do almost nothing to get ANY of that information because it is all public.
What part of talking about a young woman, my daughter or not, makes you even consider the possibility that this is either funny or makes you tough?
I found it rather funny at how quickly tone changed when I heard via email from a few athletes who’d been suspended by their coaches. Gone was the tough guy tweeter, replaced by the “I’m so sorry apology used by those only sorry because they got caught.
In fact, Brookdale Community College announced on its Facebook page that it has suspended a student for his actions and the school apologized to Schilling’s daughter.
Students and community members have rightfully expressed concerns regarding recent social media comments made by a Brookdale student.
The Twitter comments posted by this student are unacceptable and clearly violate the standards of conduct that are expected of all Brookdale students.
The student has been summarily suspended and will be scheduled for a conduct hearing where further disciplinary action will be taken. The Brookdale Police are actively investigating this matter. Brookdale takes this behavior very seriously and does not tolerate any form of harassment.
Our sincerest apologies to Gabby Schilling. Her achievement should be celebrated and not clouded by offensive comments.
Those suspensions don’t make what they did right, or what anyone has done to ostracize and alienate a teenage girl whose only crime was being admitted to college. Perhaps Schilling’s expose can help shine more attention on so much of the Twitter cyber bullying that otherwise gets swept under the rug.