Curt Schilling gets sweet revenge on teen daughter's Twitter trolls (UPDATED)
Curt Schilling has spent his life in locker rooms with foulmouthed jocks. So you might think when it comes to bawdy talk, there's little that could shock the pitching legend.
That was true until he got just a taste of what it's like to be a woman online.
When Schilling got the news his only daughter, Gabby, was accepted to college and would play softball, he took to Twitter to crow about the "incredibly proud day."
Such a sweet and naive thought.
What he got instead was a healthy dose of harsh reality. What women who venture into the social media sphere know all too well is that it's not a friendly place to be for chicks. And more often than not, the trolls love to talk dirty and violently about women. It's wrong, but it's what they do. We just deal with it the best way we can.
Curt, not so much.
He's written quite the dad-ifesto on his blog 38 Pitches to explain what happened and ask the toughest question of all: When did it become acceptable to hurl violent sexual threats at women online? Good question, Curt, and welcome to the party.
He maintained his cool when he got the predictable "Can’t wait to date her!" responses but broke rule numero uno of troll engagement by acknowledging them and then ratcheting up the tough talk.
"…I have many friends that are in or former special forces…" he tweeted.
Then the misogynist floodgates opened, and the conversation quickly turned violent and scary. Against Curt? No, silly — against is daughter, Gabby. That's how it works online. When in doubt, just start hurling disgusting and violent stuff about women to make your point. It's just how it's done.
"And tweets with the word rape, bloody underwear, and pretty much every other vulgar and defiling work you could likely fathom began to follow," he wrote.
But this is nothing new. Men have been harassing the likes of Brianna Wu or Lindy West for years. Even Twitter's own CEO admits they "suck" at stopping harassers. Stopping trolls can't be the answer. Empowering women to speak up against misogyny and violent threats is the only way forward.
He goes on in his blog post to write more stuff about the Red Sox and Republicans and this generation of kids and get off my lawn, but it's pretty fascinating to watch this alpha man be driven insane by a bunch of college dudes saying stuff online that women hear almost every day across every social media platform available.
They're not saying anything new, Curt. You just can't believe they're actually saying it to you. But that's OK. Realizing that threats of rape and violence against women are out of control online is an important first step.
The postscript to his blog post meant for his daughter seems like the only thing those of us without "Special Forces" and Major League Baseball connections, fame and money can do to keep our daughter safe from online harassers. Let them know their value and that they deserve better.
"P.S. Gabby I know you're likely embarrassed and for that I apologize," Schilling writes. "But as we have talked about, there is no situation ever in your life, where it's ok for any 'man' to talk about you, or any other woman this way (and truth be told no real man would ever talk this way anyway). It truly is time this stopped. I don't know where it started because it sure as hell didn't happen much when we were growing up. Like any dad reading this the only thing I need you to leave this home with when you head to college is the knowledge that I love you more than life itself and there is NOTHING I would not do to protect you. And while it may sound corny, it's nothing I'd ever be shy about saying in public, ever."
You know what? Talking openly about the horrors our girls face online every single day is a really important way to protect Gabby and all the other millions of women just like her. And reminding our girls they deserve better matters.
Go get 'em, Curt.
Update: Since the incident, Yankees ticket-seller Sean MacDonald lost his job for his role in harassing Schilling's daughter. And Adam Nagel has been suspended from Brookdale Community College.