Today’s column …

… was a REALLY fun one to research. Having grown tired of all the anonymous YOU SUCK e-mails and Tweets, I decided to investigate.

Good times!  🙂

46 thoughts on “Today’s column …”

  1. Jeff, Appreciate the article, but you really think going after these people to express your distain for there comments is any different. You got heated by there comments, the same as they did by your comments. So you respond by getting hot under the collar and trying play mr. detective? Com’on! That’s ridiculous.

    Maybe YOUR family should receive phone calls about your “stupid” sports writing antics and asinine ideals. What a joke! Oh, I meant cry baby!

  2. Thank you for posting this. We all need to be reminded that the person on the other end of the internet IS a person. It’s something that’s far too easy to forget. And bravo to you for having the curiosity and the courage to seek these people out.

  3. Richard Z. Chesnoff

    Years ago when I was at Newsweek, my editor Osborne Elliott used to suggest the following reply to similar style readers’ correspondence:
    “dear mr smith, thank you for your crank letter. sincerely…”
    Good column!

  4. The difference between you and I is that I was a 2 sport athlete in legitimate top 15 Division 1 programs and won a Division 1 title in Track & Field. I always find it amusing that individuals who want desperately to have been successful athletes write sport columns, but it is Darwinism/Evolution in application and most reall have no idea what they are talking about or are legitimate journalists. I am sure you are competent writer but, lets face it, 98% of all sportwriters are jealous hacks (like Selena Roberts) who, in their self-loathing and rage, lack even the common decency to apologize when they’ve defecated on themselves so thoroughly, that only a using a firehose will sufficiently clean them up.

    That being said, ALL collegiate Athletics (in particular women’s sports) are paid for by men’s football, basketball, baseball and track/field (I also played on starting teams in one of the 1st 2) and the AD made an intelligent economic decision, because he had to. You can thank Title IX for killing them, in most cases. Money should be applied where it generates the greatest ROR, hence it was cut.

    Oh, and did I say that Selena Roberts in a lousy writer, a liar and sucks?

  5. I found you via your CNN article. I thought it was great, and made a very valid point. Which seems to have either been ignored (or proven) by the general nastiness of the commentors on the CNN site. Oh well.

    I think tracking down your commentors to remove the veil of anonymity was an interesting experiment. Having someone’s real name, so you can hold them accountable (and online, no less, though you didn’t publish their last names) definitely changes the dynamic and the power balance.

    I just worry that the ability to be rude online with no consequence is rubbing off into real life. I do think people are less courteous than they used to be.

    I did appreciate the article, and I’m sorry for all the crap it’s going to generate for you.

  6. Isn’t it sort of feeding into the attitude that it’s fine to be a jerkwad by responding to the acerbic commentary?

    Not that I’m particularly interested in sports writing (no offense intended), but a rise was gotten both by you (for your original opinion) and the hecklers (for their disgusting communiques) and attention to go along with it. Personally, what I find in a lot of cases of arguing on the internet is that when people are actually willing to listen to an argument, they are usually simply lacking information with which to make a rational judgement. More often than not though, there is never any reason to debate because the conclusions have already been arrived at by all members, informed and uninformed.

  7. I thought it was an interesting read. Didn’t see anything wrong with it at all. Kind of funny to see blowhards get called out.

    By the way, not be a grammar nanny, but the word is “faze” not “phase”

  8. While I understand your perspective, I’d love to let you know that the entire forum that these two guys post on is currently laughing their (what the picture was of) off at you for completely missing the point. When you open yourself up to criticism on a medium such as Twitter, you have to realize that 140 characters is a stream of consciousness to most people. As you’re in the public eye, like many journalists are, we have to deal with the good, the bad, the ugly, and yes, the occasional gaping anus.

  9. Wow you sure showed them what a badass you are. Going old school on those internet nerds by calling them on the phone. Sure you felt tough behind your the earpiece telling their mothers how mean they were to you. Please feel free to email me for my number if you really want to call me. You pussy.

  10. I find it interesting. I left a well-reasoned, reasonable comment on the Bagwell post, and may even have emailed similar thoughts. Just ignored.

    Yet the guy who sends you Goatse gets a personal call and an opportunity to debate the topic.

    Hyperbole brings pageviews for Pearlman, and it works the same for critics.

    My point: Jeff’s going to fall right off his civility high horse.

  11. I enjoyed your column, Mr. Pearlman, and I thought you might be interested in the piece I did for Psychiatric Times. I have pasted it in below–Ron Pies MD

    The Eight-Fold Path of Internet Ethics: A Primer for Health Care Professionals
    By Ronald Pies, MD | January 5, 2011

    Anyone who has written blogs or published articles online knows that the Internet is the new “Wild West,” so far as etiquette is concerned. As a physician who has blogged on several different websites, or responded to postings by other health care professionals, I have been astounded by the level of bile and vitriol that infects so many communications among “colleagues.” Worse still, many websites aimed at health care professionals permit anonymous postings—-a sure-fire invitation to the “flaming” email, in which someone purporting to be a physician or other professional berates a colleague in terms that would embarrass the proverbial fishmonger’s wife (my apologies in advance to fishmongers and their spouses).

    As Neil Swidey recently wrote in the Boston Globe,


    “Anonymous commentary is a push and pull between privacy and trust… Online postings can sway political opinion and heavily influence whether products or businesses thrive or fail. They can make or break reputations and livelihoods. On one side, anonymous comments give users the freedom to be completely candid in a public forum. On the other, that freedom can be abused and manipulated to spread lies or mask hidden agendas.” 1

    Recently, there has been a movement toward restricting or prohibiting anonymous (or pseudonymous) postings on the internet–and not only on professional websites. For example, on the Psychiatric Times website, those who respond to our regular bloggers are required to provide their first and last name—-though admittedly, this sometimes leads to a few “Herman Herman” or “Joe Joe” postings. Still, it’s a step in the right direction, and mass media papers like the Washington Post are said to be re-assessing their own posting rules.1 There has also been a good deal of discussion in legal circles regarding the “unmasking” of anonymous bloggers who clearly defame another individual. Thus, according to Joel Reidenberg, founder of the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School, the judicial trend has been to “. . .permit unmasking of anonymous bloggers when there is a strong showing that the statement is defamatory and that the victim would be likely to prevail in a defamation lawsuit.”2

    To be sure: there are extremely rare instances in which an anonymous posting may be justifiable; for example, when someone exposing a genuine social evil or criminal act risks retaliation, revenge, or even death, by providing his or her real name. But in my view, it is not enough that an anonymous health care professional wishes to avoid “embarrassment,” or finds it “inconvenient” to provide his or her name. I find it especially deplorable—- and cowardly– when one physician hides behind the safety of a pseudonym while attacking a named colleague.

    But my aim in this piece is not to engage in still more adversarial exchanges. Rather, I’d like to suggest some ethical guidelines for health care professionals (or anyone else) who post blogs and comments online. In addition to urging my colleagues to provide their full name and degree (MD, PhD, etc.) in all online communications, I would also encourage them to build their critiques on a foundation of collegiality, respect, and fairness. In my view, this is not a matter of “Emily Post” etiquette, but of ethical and professional responsibility. And so—with apologies to the “Noble Eightfold Path” of Siddhartha Gautama3—here are my eight principles of ethical online conduct:

    1. When criticizing a colleague, try to begin your critique with something appreciative and positive—-or at least neutral–such as, “Dr. X. raises some very timely and important questions in his/her thoughtful essay.”

    2. Try not to write anything about your colleague that you would not feel justified in saying to his or her face, at a professional conference (and bear in mind, that’s where the two of you may meet next!)

    3. Never dash off an email or blog comment in a fit of anger; rather, write a draft version “off line”; reflect upon it; revise if necessary; and send only after a suitable “cooling down” period.

    4. Always consider having a colleague read over any critique that leaves you feeling uneasy or slightly “guilty” regarding statements about another person.

    5. Always phrase your criticism in terms of ideas or behaviors, not your opponent’s character or mentality; eg, say, “The notion that we should use that approach is misguided, in my opinion”, not “Dr. X is totally out of his mind!”

    6. Try to include some points of agreement with your opponent, if you can legitimately find any (and look hard for them!)

    7. Hard as it may be, try to attribute a benign intention or motivation to your opponent; eg, “Dr. X clearly intends to protect the welfare of the general public; however, in my view, her approach may lead to serious problems.” (“In my view” is a good mantra to recite).

    8. Always try to summarize your opponent’s view in a fair and convincing manner, while allowing for the possibility that you have misunderstood his position. (In the Talmud, the School of Hillel garnered more approval than did its opponents, the School of Shammai, because in writing their opinions, the Hillelites typically began by accurately stating the Shammaites’ point of view).

    As one commentator has observed, in discussing the Buddha’s concept of “right speech”: “The importance of speech in the context of Buddhist ethics is obvious: words can break or save lives, make enemies or friends, start war or create peace.”3 Surely, those of us whose livelihood and calling depend on the power of words must take this counsel to heart.

  12. Same post I left at CNN:

    Perhaps if the SI writers had a Comments section, such as this, you wouldn’t receive so much vile hate mail.
    I know there are articles I have read from writers, not only at SI, that seem to be written to inflame.
    When there is no way for a public response then it seems many must reply under the cover of darkness. Since it is not public expect the worst to come out.

    I really would like to see a comments section at SI.
    I have read articles there where you really have to wonder what the writer was smoking.
    Same holds true at Sporting News.

    That being said, it is because of psychos stalking that I remain anonymous.

  13. I agree with your larger point, as the recipient of much anonymous and pseudonymous abuse over the years I’ve been writing online.

    But unless he deleted the tweets, @matthewrjohnson wasn’t exceptionally rude by Internet standards.

    It was obnoxious for him to Goatse you, but you should know better than to open URLs from strangers with your kid around.

  14. Read your CNN article today and must say I found it very interesting and somewhat inspiring. I blog myself and am pretty involved town issues and I have a lot of local on-line haters who love to bash me. It is not a good thing, but it is nice to know I am not alone. Fortunately for you though, it seems like you have very positive outcomes.

    Best of luck to you!

  15. You are a self absorbed douche who takes himself way too seriously. Wanna call my mom or me and ask for an apology, go for it you tool. You are as tough as them to call over the phone and demand an apology, you are as anonymous over the phone as you are on the internet you quasi hero to yourself…track me down…go for it. loser

  16. Awesome CNN article Jeff. People always have one excuse or another for their inappropriate behavior. Bout time someone held a few of them accountable….good job!

  17. Man I read that article on CNN and laughed so hard. I love reading about idiots like you. Do you honestly think that you’re above criticism because you’re a writer? I mean maybe you wouldn’t get criticism if you didn’t write awful pieces. I hope you track me down I’ll tell you to shove it in front of my mom.

  18. Also, the fact that people are agreeing with you makes leaves me looking for a the nearest trashcan so I don’t puke on my floor.

  19. Great stuff, Jeff. I always hate it when people get vicious for no good reason on talkback, but as you said, it comes with the territory. Thought you might have gon3 a little easy on the guy who sent you for pornography…but great article, dude.

  20. The only thing more pathetic than the fact you had to take the initiative to call up a critic of yours because you couldn’t be a man and take the bad press, is the wannabes on here supporting you. As a journalist, I would expect you to fully supported to right of free speech and if someone doesn’t like what you write, then by all means they have the right to comment about it; just as I’m commenting on this right now.

    For someone who certainly had potential to be a commemorative sports writer, you certainly lost a lot of readers with this childish act.

  21. How am I a wussy when you can’t even say what you want on this comment page, yet can rant on about something else in an article and cant handle criticism? THEN, call some teenage kids mom because you were felt bullied. Obviously you’re trying to get my information or e-mail me something inappropriate. Also, I’m neither going to give your creep-self my e-mail nor put it on a comment page for everyone to have. Booyakasha. I’m out.

    1. Wow. This is amazing. You won’t even use your own name. Truly, truly sad. I am telling you right now: I will happily debate this with you via phone, or in person. And yet, you hide …

  22. I just read your article on CNN about tracking down your “online haters” and really enjoyed it. I’m personally very glad that you had such a positive outcome out of all of it. I’ve felt for a while now that the incivility of the internet was beginning to spread more and more into the “real” world (I ascribe it less to anonymity and more to a narrowing of the range of expression), so I’m glad in a way that that your experience shows the contrary to be true insofar as these guys turned out wanting to be pals, lame as that may be. Good for you, man and keep fighting the good fight.

  23. Dear Mr Pearlman,

    Jeff (if I may),

    I read your article about tracking down your “Online Haters” – well done. I write as well – but not to your calibre. I did post a ‘write’ I titled “Footsteps…” regarding peoples’ perception of the internet. I include the link to it and it is NOT to a porn site… chuckling here. Regretably, you will likely have to cut and paste to your browser –

    If you can’t spare the time -well, that’s life in the real world. But, if you can, I’d be honored if you ‘paused’.

    You take care,


  24. I would say that this proves that you are pathetic human being who stalks and harasses anyone who dares disagree with you in an impolite manner, but I don’t want to waste my wireless minutes telling you to buzz off when you call me.

  25. Jeff,

    Keep on trucking…I read your blog most every day, required reading along with joe pos and rob neyer. Just wanted to express thanks for writing many hours of enjoyable reading.

    I may not always agree with the endpoint in every blog post but it does make me think. And im very glad that every now and then the written word still has enough impact to get a conglomerate to feel enough shame to replace a booth cushion!

  26. Great article Jeff. Next time show up on there doorstep like Jay and Silent Bob Strike back. And bring a camera crew. Would make a great documentary. lol

  27. Mr. Pearlman,

    I was delighted to find your column on CNN–excellent stuff. In the two examples when you actually located your tormentors, you showed class and understanding of what those two young men were going through.

    I think what you really found was a breakdown in parenting. If a parent does not take the time to show their child how to act and how to function online, of course you’re going to get nothing but bleary-eyed invective out of the little rascals.

    What you found goes to prove a larger point as well–the Internet Tough Guy is a punk who lives with a mother who is shocked to find out he curses at sportswriters.

  28. Jeff,

    I think it is sad that anyone would use such filthy speech to ridicule you, and to do it with the cover of the “information superhighway”. BUT…I do think it is a good reminder that generally speaking, we all need to clean up our blog-posts, comments, etc…Using the “F” word “***hole”, etc…in blog-posts, I think can sometimes be a trigger for people saying the stupid stuff that they do. I’m not saying it always does, but it certainly doesn’t help.

  29. That was a great article. And “Heff”‘s performance in the comments is like performance art or something. “Track me down! Oh, wait, what?”

  30. 2 things after having just read the article. One, in general, is that I don’t understand people getting upset about random other people being rude to them over the net when the person in the first place is plastering their opinions all over several different social media and Internet outlets. I am not saying you deserve it per se, but you have to expect it – otherwise, get off Facebook, get off Twitter, post your articles and blogs and don’t allow comments. Secondly, I find it ironic that you seemed to take some surprise in what you seem to think is the absurdity of someone posting something on the Internet to get a rise out of you and that part of their reasoning is simply that there are no consequences. The irony is that I, and I think your two examples in your article, think that, increasingly in the Internet age, sportswriters lve to spout off what I and a lot of other people find as absurd, arrogant, and bold statements, predictions, op-ed pieces, etc, and the reason they can is because there are no consequences. I recently had an exchange with your collegue Stewart Mandel calling him out on an article about how wonderful Matt Barkley and Tate Forcier are and how Ohio St got the short end of the stick with Terrelle Pryor. Flash foward a year later after that article and the tables had easily been turned. But, what was the difference for Mandel? He wrote what he thought was some sort of grand epiphany and prophecy about 3 young NCAA football players and fell flat on his face for it. No foul though, he never has to address his error and he can still write the same types of articles week in and week out. So, yeah, it’s easy to say whatever you want – no matter what it says and how it sounds – when there are no consequences for it. As an online sportswriter, you should know that!

  31. Jeff, After reading your piece “Tracking down my online haters” on the first thing that grabbed me is what a thin-skinned girl you to seem to be. I have no doubt that many mean and hateful comments from your readers are irritating to you, but why give into that horse crap? The fact that you actually took the time to track people down and take them to task over their comments was laughable. If I wrote a mean comment to you and you called my house to cry about it, I would gladly make use of that golden opportunity and verbally kick you in the teeth some more.

    I’m sure you are a fine writer and you’ve obviously accomplished a lot in your career but for the love of god, grow a pair. The internet that allows you to further your career is the same internet that allows others to be an ass and write rude, snarky comments. We ALL get to express ourselves, civil or not. Get over it already. On the other hand if the sole purpose of your article was to rile people up, get your name out and expose yourself to more readers, mission accomplished, you got me.

    Savannah Doug

  32. Wow, great read on CNN about the haters. Reminds me of the guys in traffic who cut you off and think they are so great until they realize you live down the street from them. Then they run in and hide.

    People are stupid behind the mask of anonymity.

    I get some hate mail a few times a month as well, but none that are scary.

  33. About ayoung black man walking around awhite neighborhood getting stared at. I am an old white man in my”hood” for 43 years and if I wear a knit cap and shades I get the fish eye. People get a stereotype and don’t let go. JSA 77yo

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