"Respect your fellow man"
"Think before you act"
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you"
Those are some basic principles that I adhere to in my life. They should be for everyone, but no one is perfect. First and foremost I am a lifelong San Francisco 49ers fan. With that knowledge I will admit that watching my team play I, like most sports fans, can get emotional watching a game. Especially in my younger days, but over time I have learned that these are just games. It's not like the world is going to end if my team loses.
With that said I was appalled at what transpired after the 49ers loss to the New York Giants this past Sunday in the NFC Championship game. Twitter and Facebook can both bring out the best and worst in us as a society. The worst was shown just after the 49ers defeat.
Kyle Williams (#10 jersey above) fumbled a punt return in overtime that gave the New York Giants an opportunity to kick a game winning field goal to advance to the Super Bowl. The kick was good and almost immediately the vitriol of so-called 49ers fans was on full display.
I won't repeat what was said here, but some of the most despicable things imaginable were said including threats on Kyle Williams' life. Thankfully the beauty of Twitter and Facebook was on full display as well. Kyle's teammates were supporting him throughout the night and the following day on twitter.
From 49ers LB Patrick Willis Twitter feed
@KyleWilliams_10 keep ur head up. U r my brother n teammate N I would put u back there all over again. We all lost this game tonight not u."
Many 49ers fans were showing their support as well through social media. The good always outweighs the bad. It is sad though that some people will still be that vicious to someone they don't even know over a game. It makes me wonder if Bill Buckner, Don Denkinger and Scott Norwood would have had even more threats with the existence of social media during their time?
If you look closely at the picture above you will see that Kyle's teammates did not let him sit by himself off in a corner on the sidelines. He was right there with his teammates and they were supportive of him the whole way. It is an image I won't soon forget as this team showed 'respect for their fellow man' when he was down on himself.
I too respect Kyle Williams as a man. His response afterwards is one that should be looked up to.
"I made a mistake in a key situation, but people realize I've busted my tail all year and I think my teammates realize that, too. Things happen in the game of football and you've got to bounce back from it. You've got to realize that you've made a mistake and own up to it."
I could have gone on a rant or a crazy tirade on Twitter like some did during and after the game, but I didn't. The only things I said relating to Kyle Williams was as follows;
"Kyle Williams scares me"
"Again Kyle Williams scares the hell out of me. That looked like he touched it. Crap"
"Why Kyle Williams. Why?"
I'm a 49ers fan, but I thought before I tweeted. In those moments that was my initial thought. I did not show malice towards him. I know it's a game and it was a great game to boot. This was my final tweet when the game ended;
"It was a hell of a year boys. As a life long #Niners fan I'm very proud of what you guys did this year. #49erFaithful"
Not a single ounce of bad blood after the game. I feel terrible for Kyle Williams. That could happen to anyone. But he and no one deserves to be threatened over a game. Never.
If we all would 'think before we act' or tweet in this case I wouldn't be talking about this. Instead I would be talking more about how Kyle Williams showed us all how to handle adversity when it seems easier to run away.