The allegations of sexual assault surrounding Jameis Winston affected any number of lives, including, as it turns out, one of the individuals charged with covering it.
In an absolutely riveting piece posted online Friday, Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times details, among other things, the threats directed at not only himself but his wife as he played a significant role in covering the scandal from the very beginning. From being accused of sleeping with Winston’s accuser to accusations that he was tipped off by Alabama’s Nick Saban, the central theme from the Florida State community seems to be encapsulated in this message Baker received from an FSU student: “Why do you have to go around digging for s— (you) have no business in? The FSU nation is coming for u.”
And come after him they did as Baker writes “[f]ans bombarded my phone with more than 100 calls over a couple of weeks,” as well as having his phone number attached to “a gay personal ad on Craigslist next to a picture of a chiseled man wearing only boxer shorts and a Santa hat” and having “a photo of a stranger’s penis” sent to him. “Florida State fans wanted me to die of brain-eating cancer and in a car crash on my way home,” Baker added.
Unbelievably, it went downhill from there.
I was covering a high school football game one night when a Twitter post popped up on my phone:
You’re a marked man … Say goodbye.
My wife started worrying about me at home, so she reported it to the police and the FBI.
She spent that night combing through message boards, looking for other threats. Buried in the hundreds of vicious comments, she found a photo someone posted of the two of us. One of the trolls said our future children would be ugly.
When I called her on the drive home, she was in tears.
I didn’t know what to say.
Again, click HERE to read Baker’s entire account.
It should be said that the abuse and threats heaped on Baker and his wife likely came from a very small percentage of the FSU fan base. That said, it doesn’t make it any less sickening.
Speaking as someone who had death wished upon his then-three-year-old daughter… who had, and I quote, “ass cancer” wished upon his whole family… who, like Baker, it was hoped would exchange bodily fluids with an AIDS-infected monkey… whose home phone number had to be changed (twice) after “fans” found it and abused him and his family because he had the audacity to write something negative about Alabama or Ohio State or Penn State or whatever football program it was, I can say this with complete sincerity and utter authority: get a life, people. Seriously. It’s just football.