One of the unfortunate by-products of a public free agency negotiation is that it brings out the lowest common denominator.
In the aftermath of recent comments made by agent Bouna Ndiaye on behalf of his client, Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, multiple racist and misogynstic Twitter messages were directed to Batum and his long-time girlfriend on Twitter. Batum's Twitter account is @Nicolas88Batum; His girlfriend's is @MissBatum.
"US Minnesota fans Don't want Your OVERPAID [racial epithet] [rear end] on our team," read the message from one user. "Plus your French. Your kind don't belong here."
The user continued: "You suck [racial epithet].Ruin my twolves capspace. your French [racial epithet] [rear end] don't belong here n Minnesota!!!
Another user directed the following towards Batum's girlfriend: "only reason u have followers is cause u [sexual act] the right [male body part]."
This is clearly not the first time Twitter has been used to spread hate speech towards professional athletes. Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake and his wife received death threats on the social networking service, which allows users to remain anonymous, after Blake missed a crucial shot during the 2012 playoffs.
Overall, comments ran the gamut. Some were supportive of Batum and his girlfriend, some defensive of them and some reached out to offer thanks. Others called on Batum to lay out his feelings towards the Blazers and the Timberwolves publicly rather than letting Ndiaye speak for him. Some encouraged him to leave for the Timberwolves because he was not wanted in Portland while others expressed hope that he would re-sign in Portland.
This site has hosted literally thousands of comments regarding Batum's free agency situation in recent weeks. Now wouldn't be the worst time to reach out to Batum and his girlfriend if you have a more nuanced perspective to offer.
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-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter