Online trolls taking fun out of college, prep sports

January 10, 2012 

Ian Furness of KJR 950 AM in Seattle devoted two segments of his program Monday to a Tacoma News Tribune story published Sunday on the harm that negative online comments inflict on college recruiting.

According to TNT reporter Doug Pacey, his piece drew more traffic to his newspaper’s website than the chilling murder of Mount Rainier National Park ranger Margaret Anderson.

The headline read: Rejected fans' nastiness a nuisance to recruiters

"Like a horde of just-dumped boyfriends, anonymous posters left bitter messages in the comments sections of newspaper websites and on Huskies-centric message boards," Pacey wrote of an Everett running back’s decision to choose Notre Dame over the University of Washington.

Furness, a proud WSU grad, noted the issue is not limited to Husky fans, pointing to the bashing that running back Bishop Sankey received from WSU fans when he chose to go to school in Seattle rather than Pullman.

Last week, the Tri-City Herald website reflected much of that same mentality when the sports staff reported on the viral video that showed hard fouls during last month's Highland vs. Connell boys basketball game. Several online trolls launched vicious attacks at virtually every angle of the story — including the Herald.

So what ever happened to the concept of reasonable, rational and thoughtful debate in this country?

I had to chuckle when both Furness and co-host Jason Puckett said some of the biggest offenders in the bullying of high school recruits are the circles of "middle-aged law firm guy."

Furness added, "Now, I don’t know if he's just fetching coffee for the lawyers or if he's actually a lawyer."

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