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Sports Journalist Gets Trolled On Twitter, Tattles To Troll's Parents

from the this-won't-end-well dept

There's a spectrum of responses in how to deal with internet trolls. On one end, you can give them a nice little golf-clap while mostly ignoring their often-hilarious antics. Somewhere in the middle is when a news organization decides to track the troll down and harrass them in real life in one of those ironic little moments that makes life worth living. Finally, I think we can call sending a SWAT team to respond to an internet troll on the other far end of the spectrum.

So, with that established, I wonder where we'll put Al Trautwig, a sports analyst in New York for the MSG Network, who found himself the target of a troll after he Twitter-typo'd his new co-worker Marty Biron as "Boron."

@AlTrautwig Thought it was an autobiographical tweet and you meant Moron.

— THE Blocknesmonster (@Blocknesmonster) November 13, 2013
That's about what I'd expect from someone with the Twitter handle THE Blocknesmonster. It's neither creative, nor funny, nor particularly memorable or deserving of attention in any way. So you'd figure Trautwig would ignore this lame troll and move on, right? Nah, he called the guy's mom instead.
Al Trautwig apparently found the troll's phone number and called him. Except the troll doesn't live at that number anymore and hasn't for 20 years; he lives in Israel now. So when Al Trautwig creepily tracked down the number for a heckler who called him a moron on Twitter, and called to confront him about it, he spoke to the heckler's mom.
"I get a call from my mother that Al Trautwig just called the house to speak to me because I wrote something about him on twitter. My mother told him that I don't live there anymore (20 years plus) and can she have his number so I can call him back. He refused to give his number to her and said to her not to worry, that he will find me."
I'm a big fan of sports journalism and talk-radio, and every once in a while a friend or family member will ask me why I listen to a bunch of childish goons shouting things at one another while calling it entertainment. I typically argue that that's not all sports journalism is. Al Trautwig just made things much harder for me by acting as childish as the troll and giving him roughly infinitely more attention than he deserves. In fact, all it did was cause the troll to begin tweeting at Trautwig nonstop, all while getting attention fed to him in response to the story of a sports journalist stooping down to the level of a jerk.

Mission accomplished? Hardly. I imagine that Trautwig has a great many more mothers to call now that this story is circulating.

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  • icon
    jameshogg (profile), 19 Nov 2013 @ 3:46pm

    I totally agree with the troll problem. We SHOULD have more people voicing their anger in person, in the faces of others and out in the open. I come from the United Kingdom: people are too fucking nice around here as it is, and it is actively encouraged in our culture. "We must be respectful!" "I am offended therefore I have rights!" "Apologise at once!" Shut the fuck up.

    I for one wish I could be more famous than I am for my aggressive dissent, which is far too nice as it is. Americans: don't let our disgraceful cowardliness rub off on you for a second.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Nov 2013 @ 5:09pm

    While I can certainly understand getting annoyed by some idiot troll like that, calling their home phone number, and then saying you'll track down their current phone number when that one turns out to be out-of-date goes well beyond turn-about, and straight into 'creepy stalker' territory.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2013 @ 5:12pm

    Someone should introduce this guy to Incognito

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 19 Nov 2013 @ 5:14pm

    one person's troll...

    ...is another person's voice

    1. the summation, as far as being a nothing-burger best left uneaten by a no-skinned trautwig, is correct...
    2. even as an un-involved lurker/spectator, i often see so-called trolls act as necessary brakes on steamrolling gruppethink...
    3. similarly, they can offer valid criticism that insiders and tribe-members may be loath to proffer...

    having said that, the resident troll-in-chief is a sub-species whose signal-to-noise ratio is not worth the trouble... its most maddening trait is its hit-and-run style which will only respond to points it feels can be 'refuted', but leaves all the tough questions untouched...

    skips around all day on a thread, but somehow overlooks the valid evidence offered in rebuttal... funny, that...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    droozilla (profile), 19 Nov 2013 @ 5:29pm

    I don't believe Trautwig could find anything if it wasn't on a teleprompter in front of him.

    Maybe he should run for President.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    gyffes, 19 Nov 2013 @ 6:53pm


    ... if anyone wanted to call OOTB's mom and tell them that their imbecile child is on the computer spewing nastiness, again, and she really out to put the little rodent back into time out, I'd give that a golf-clap of approval.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bryan Carson (profile), 19 Nov 2013 @ 8:18pm

    Not sure it is really creepy

    I dislike internet trolls as much as anyone. However, I would like to respectfully disagree with the characterization of Al Trautwig as "creepy." In fact, I think calling a critic or internet troll is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. He probably searched for the guy online and had no idea it was the parents he was calling. From the way the story is written (and even from Blocknesmonster's tweets) the call sounded like it was a respectful one.

    Blocknesmonster stated that his parents were called at "midnight," but don't know this is true. Blocknesmonster's mother called him at 7 am Israeli time, which would have indeed been midnight in NY. However, that doesn't mean Trautwig had just called. It may instead mean that Blocknesmonster's mother called at midnight because of time changes. It is hard to call from the US, so staying up until midnight would allow his mother to call before Blocknesmonster left for work. Until I hear more, I'll reserve judgment on Al Trautwig.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ROman, 19 Nov 2013 @ 8:32pm

    It would appear

    It would appear by all accounts that Mr. Tratwig is a douchenozzle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 20 Nov 2013 @ 6:00am

      Re: It would appear

      Allow me, if you will, to play the Devil's advocate here. Trautwig called the troll's mom and explained to her that her brat was behaving badly on Twitter.

      While the offence, such as it was, couldn't have done any harm to anyone, trolls can and do go from "Hah! Typo!" and mild name-calling to griefing and worse. It's possible that our little buddy was stopped in his tracks before he became a monster and was reminded that he could be held to account for his actions. It is equally possible that the kid might have simply done this once and grown out of it.

      That said, I think Trautwig was overreacting. He should have ignored it. And dang, all that effort for one mildly offensive tweet? Grow a pair, Trautwig!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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