No more twitter for me. Said I’d do it for one year and the time is up. Too much hate and too many trolls. Much love to Braves country! Xo
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) August 7, 2013
I stayed out pretty late with some friends last night watching the game at my favorite watering hole, and didn’t spend any time on Twitter last night. I usually do that about one night a week just to unwind and enjoy the game without feeling like I have to tweet about it. I don’t tweet constantly throughout a game anyway because for me I cannot really focus on the best game in the world – baseball – and concentrate on my Twitter timeline at the same time. Some days I tweet often, and other days I might tweet little. I mostly try to interact with serious Braves’ fans in a positive and helpful way, but rarely do I engage in arguments or respond to trolls and people who just try to get under my skin. Perhaps that sort of approach to Twitter would have served Chipper well.
Well I was not really surprised when I read Jeff’s Chop this morning that Chipper had decided to quit the Twitter world. True to his word, Chipper said he would try out Twitter for a year (roughly), and it was on September 11, 2012 that we see the first activity on Twitter from Chipper. I won’t embed the tweet here, but Chipper was asked to retweet a comment from a fan who believes Chipper will be a #FirstBallotHOF (hash tag common on Twitter now). Chipper retweeted that, and retweeted often in those early days before people began to overwhelm him with such requests.
On the one hand, it’s difficult to blame fans for wanting to interact in some way with Chipper Jones. Twitter is unique across all social platforms in that regard – that you can actually have a moment or two with people you’d otherwise never get to talk to or share with in any way. If you go back and look at Chipper Jones’ timeline on Twitter, you begin to see that he was constantly bombarded with requests to follow, retweet comments, yada yada ad nauseum. If Chipper Jones ever had the misguided notion of turning on mention notifications with sound or vibe in his Twitter for Mobile (or whatever other mobile software he may have used), then his phone would have to have literally stayed on the charger all the time!
On the other hand though, if Chipper has really given up Twitter for good, then I don’t blame him at all. A great amount of blame can be placed on those true fans, trolls, and naysayers who were relentless throughout Chipper’s entire year on Twitter. Even a casual glance at almost any day on Mr. Jones’ timeline reveals a never-ending barrage of requests, rants, raves, kudos, follow requests, retweet requests, and a TON of hate. I am happy to say that while I occasionally sent a tweet to Chipper, I never once asked Chipper to follow me or retweet me, and he never did either of those. That never upset me. Chipper has no responsibility to do anything other than be who he is, and deserves to be left alone to share his thoughts on Twitter just like everyone else without being bombarded (at least when his thoughts are civil). Yes, I realize that he is firmly ensconced in the public eye, and again I understand it’s natural to want to interact with him, but he is flesh and blood just like the rest of us. The fact that I never bugged him doesn’t make me better than other Twitter followers – it’s just the way that I was raised, to respect other people’s privacy, even on Twitter.
To be fair, Chipper Jones brought a touch of the aforementioned hassles on himself. Jones got into a back-and-forth bout of insults on Twitter with a former Deadspin writer Pete Gaines back in March of this year. Apparently Gaines tossed an insult in Jones’ direction on Twitter, saying Jones should “go do some adultery and steroids.” Gaines would later admit that Jones did nothing to instigate the bout of insults beyond merely commenting on a basketball game that ended up in Gaines’ timeline. However the insults occurred, Jones certainly ratcheted the bout up a notch with some of his own insults, calling Gaines “an ignorant, balding, overweight dumbass,” and even insulting Gaines fiancee’. Jones’ fans quickly attacked Gaines just as vehemently, driving up the heat even more. Gaines kept the bout going by actually writing a column entitled, Cyberbullied By Chipper, and then Jones replied to that article with even more insults.
Chipper was never very shy about his opinions, and he often tweeted things that increased the trolling activity. On June 13, Chipper shared a thought on Twitter that set off a storm when he tweeted…
Y’all think if they took all them gators they trap in Fla and La and put them in the Rio Grande, it wud stop the illegals from crossing? Jk
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) June 8, 2013
The Twitterverse and what I call the “Thought Police” went on a rampage, demanding an apology, which Chipper later gave. I will be the first to say that with the world we live in today, where people are a bit too sensitive in my opinion, a public figure like Chipper Jones has to be exceedingly careful with the things he says. However, I also feel that the reaction to his comment was, well, over-reaction. My thoughts on today’s thought police, over-sensitivity, and this ridiculous focus on political correctness are thoughts for another article, but I will say that despite Chipper’s lack of care, he was just being human like the rest of us. Perhaps as such a public figure, he’s not allowed to be, and with that sour truth I cannot blame him for going silent on Twitter. I guess I just wish I was personal friends with Chipper. I think I might have taken him aside and given him some free advice on watching the things you say.
I’m not a Chipper Jones’ fan because of anything other than the fact that he was an Atlanta Brave, and arguably the best Atlanta Brave ever. If he has not always been excellent with his comments and excellent off the field, he certainly was excellent on the field. Chipper considered retirement before he actually retired, but changed his mind and played that one last, memorable year. Perhaps he’ll change his mind with Twitter as well. If he does and comes back to Twitter, I’m sure we’ll see a Chipper who is more reserved with his comments. Perhaps we’ll see fans being a bit more respectful of him as well. If he never comes back to Twitter, I don’t really care. Twitter has nothing to do with why I will always love Chipper Jones.