Blogged by: Megan Larkin, F3 Intern – PhilanthropyAround the NFL

There are plenty of things that are said on the internet that we would like to think would never be said in real life. Usually by people who are – in social media language – referred to as ‘keyboard killas’ or ‘cyberbullies’.  These are the ones that have lots to say via social media, but rarely replicate the same emotion from behind the safety-net of their iPhone or computer screen.  Well, a group of these similar type of people have come together and formed an actual group or movement as they call it and you wouldn’t (or maybe you would in this day and age) believe what its in support of.

As a part of the #MoreThanMean campaign, Youtube channel Just Not Sports has produced a powerful video (link: Just Not Sports) of male sports fans reading online attacks directed at sports reporters Julie DiCaro and Sarah Spain. The attack started out irritating, but mild, calling Spain a ‘nagging wife’ and DiCaro a ‘beat reporter’. However, these attacks quickly escalate to cruel and vicious, with the ‘Tweeters’ expressing a desire for DiCaro and Spain to experience sexual assault and battery. (These are ‘real-life’ tweets: Just Not Sports II). The video quickly went viral and has sparked think-pieces from The New York Times to Buzzfeed.

Although Spain and DiCaro were aware of what the posts said, the men who read them  on video were not aware of the malicious verbal attacks. As the posts became more cruel, the men reading them become visibly uncomfortable and vocally apologetic – even for actions they did not commit. The #MoreThanMean campaign brings attention to the attacks being made on female sports reporters.  It also drives home need for awareness of cyber-bullying to be at an all-time high, and that what’s deemed impersonal by the offenders, is indeed personal to the offended.  #MoreThanMean’s appropriate tagline is: “If you wouldn’t say it, then don’t type it”. We argue whether or not the insults are and were impersonal. As a matter of fact, we dare to say that they are in that if Spain and DiCaro weren’t women, this attempt to demean their value to their industry, and the disgusting implications that they should experience harm, would not be.

Other female reporters and journalists are speaking out, including co-host of ESPN’s His & Hers, Jemele Hill (more on Jemele in the next blog).   “It shouldn’t have to come with my job, and no, I’m not getting used to it.”   FullSizeRenderIn the days after the video exploded, other female sports reporters have came forward to express their support for the featured journalists and their disgust that this abuse is such a common thing in their profession.

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Image courtesy of: ESPNW via Jemele Hill Instagram page.