The internet has brought us many great things, but in sports, one of the worst things is brought us is online trolls.
For anyone who is not familiar with the term an online troll is someone that harasses another person from behind the safety of their computer. In sports, online trolls typically criticize an athlete for their performance or simply because they don’t like them. 99.9% of the time these people don’t compete in the sport of the athlete they are criticizing.
You would think that even though you are behind your computer it might not bet the best idea to troll professional fighters. They receive more trolling than most athletes. From undercard fighters to world champions the online trolling is abundant when it comes to fighters. They get insulted and called every name under the sun, they get their performances criticized and are told how they should fight by these keyboard warriors.
In today’s modern world simply being behind your computer doesn’t mean you can’t be identified. It has happened on several occasions where a pro fighter is able to track down the troll and confront them. Many times this result is the online troll cowering and on occasion, the online troll getting beat up.
Deontay Wilder stands over beaten online troll.
One of the more notable cases of a fighter beating up an online troll was when Boxing champion Deontay Wilder beat up Charlie Zelenoff. Unlike most situations, this is different because Zelenoff wanted to fight Wilder. He insulted and threatened Wilder’s kids as well as used racial slurs towards him. MMA fighter Tera LaRosa beat up an internet troll that said women couldn’t fight. Boxer Curtis Woodhouse received the address of his online troll and updated everyone as he was driving to the man’s house at which point the man apologized before the confrontation even took place. These are just a few of the several stories where athletes have successfully confronted their trolls.
Despite it being amusing to see a keyboard warrior confronted there is a huge risk that is taken when doing this. As hard as it might be to ignore an online troll it is probably the best decision. Even responding to them can be the wrong move. You never know who the person behind the computer screen is. You also have no idea how these people will react when confronted in person or online.
For Boxer Manuel Charr this took a disastrous turn in 2015. What seemed like a harmless facebook post by Charr challenging his critics to face him one on one like men ended in gun violence. While eating at a kebab shop in Germany one of these scumbags took things to the next level. The coward did not confront Charr face to face as Charr requested, instead he showed up to the kebab and shot him four times in a drive-by shooting.
The reminder of the incident.
Charr had surgery that night that and luckily had non-life threatening injuries. Despite the injuries not being life-threatening his career status was up in the air. Would he be able to recover and compete again? He made his return to the Boxing ring in mid-2016. He has gone 3-0 since returning to the ring after being shot.
The scariest part of the situation is that Charr didn’t try to confront them in person himself, he simply laid down a challenge and this was the response. As great as it is to see fighters put these punks in their place it is better to just ignore them. They have too much to lose in comparison to these trolls. Potentially getting shot or getting killed because some fake tough guy online insulted you is not worth it.