Cyberbullied By Chipper

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Pete Gaines, a friend of the site, said something stupid on Twitter to Chipper Jones over the weekend, and then spent most of the day day getting blasted—at Chipper's Bieber-style behest—by both Jones and his followers. It was ugly and dumb and went on for hours, and we asked him to write about it.

Right off the bat, let's note that Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones has never tested positive for—nor ever even been seriously accused of—using steroids or other substances banned by Major League Baseball as performance-enhancing substances. That's important. That is a fact.

Two other facts, while we're noting them: Chipper Jones committed adultery when he fathered a child out of wedlock with a Hooters waitress. The second fact is that Chipper Jones claims to be a man "of faith," a particularly loaded and mostly silly euphemism often used in this country, and in Chipper's particular case, to mean "an evangelical Christian." These are the facts, too, and they are not disputed.

So maybe it wasn't particularly nice of me to say Friday night on Twitter that Chipper Jones, who has never tested positive for steroids and who has cheated on his wife with a Hooters waitress, should "go do some adultery and steroids" in response to Jones' relatively innocuous suggestion on Twitter that Kansas guard Elijah Johnson ought not have punched Michigan center Mitch McGary in the testicles, as Johnson most certainly did in the opening minutes of the Kansas-Michigan game. 

Perhaps I was miffed that Jones' mere presence happened across my Twitter timeline. I've heard stories over the years of Jones' hypocrisy—that he put on a convincing aw-shucks good-ol'-Christian-boy act for the media and (some) fans, but was what students of the type call a "raging douchebag" the rest of the time. I've heard stories of bullying, hypocrisy and all the other things that might be expected of a grown-ass multimillionaire man-child who calls himself "Chipper." Anyway, I was a dick to Chipper Jones on Twitter. That was uncool of me.

But I guess what I'm saying, after Chipper Jones went on an hours-long invective jag against me—my literacy and my jealousy, my height, my (lack of) hair, my weight, the appearance of my fiancée (a professional sportswriter, no less) and my sexuality—is this: Chipper Jones himself has done more, personally and recently, to confirm these second- and third-hand stories about him than I would ever have thought possible. 

Jones has a right to respond to insults, of course. I would not begrudge the man for not taking the idle, knee-jerk insults of some Twitter smartass—me in this case, but doubtless many other smartasses in many other instances—lying down. But I might also suggest that a man in a relative position of power who trades on his Christian faith as a businessman, might refrain from calling anyone—me or you or anyone—an "ignorant, balding, overweight dumbass." That would seem, relative to the alternative, the "Christian" thing to do, which is after all your descriptor, pal, not mine.

By those standards, Jones might also have reconsidered the suggestion that my fiancée—a former Division I wrestling team manager who writes about mixed martial arts for a living, and who found herself involved only because she appears in my AVI—"outweigh(s)" me and my beer gut; she doesn't, although of course that doesn't matter, really. Further congratulating his hundreds of thousands of hero-worshipping followers for busting on my personal appearance and that of my fiancée—rather than my words—also seems a decidedly un-Christian look for Tim Tebow's business partner. When Jones congratulated his followers for going after my fiancée and me, was he particularly proud of the "your gay" insult that kept recurring? Anyway, these are rhetorical questions, and don't really matter much; a Tweetdeck filter for "fat, bald" solved this on my end, anyway.

There's a movement in sports and across the country to reduce or eliminate bullying. I would suggest the leaders of this movement not contact Chipper Jones to be their spokesman.

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