Chipper Jones is filling his retirement with activities. Like getting involved in a Twitter battle. The short version:
- A former Deadspin writer named Pete Gaines tweeted some insults at Jones, telling him to “go do some adultery and steroids.” It doesn’t seem to have been a situation where Jones did anything to instigate it. He just tweeted some stuff about a college basketball game and Gaines, by his own admission, may have been “miffed that Jones’ mere presence happened across my Twitter timeline.” Thus the insult.
- Jones tweeted stuff back at Gaines, calling him “an ignorant, balding, overweight dumbass,” and taking a cheap shot at Gaines’ fiancee, who appears in his avatar. Because Jones has over a quarter of a million twitter followers, many of his followers went after Gaines too. It’s a tale as old as, well, at least as old as Twitter.
- Yesterday, Gaines wrote a column in The Classical, explaining the situation and accusing Jones of “cyberbullying.” Jones saw the column today, retweeted it, and then let loose a bit on Gaines once again.
No one looks great here. Gaines likely never would have taken a gratuitous shot at Jones if he wasn’t famous and, like a lot of internet commenters and folks on Twitter, likely felt, on some level, like his words don’t matter as long as the target is big enough or there remained a fair chance they wouldn’t be read. At least Gaines’ admits in his column that he behaved poorly.
But Jones’ stuff — particularly the shot at Gaines’ fiancee — was low rent, uncalled for and, above all else, inexplicable. You’re a big famous ballplayer. If someone is being immature and rude, how about ignoring them? You took jeers from the worst of the worst for 20 years and you decide to go off on some guy on Twitter? Really? And even Jones’ defense — that he was just dishing back what was given him — rings hollow given that Gaines was just being an ass to Jones while Jones — after returning the favor to Gaines — decided to escalate by picking on the guy’s fiancee.
The Internet: yes it’s newish to some. And yes it has changed a lot. But it doesn’t, as far as I know, trump the “don’t be a jerk to people” rule. Amazing how many people forget that.