Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 5/10/13
Nothing to see here — just another athlete who made himself look foolish on the Internet. Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie owns a .179 batting average and enters Friday’s game in the midst of a 2-for-25 slump. Needless to say, he’s an easy target for all baseball fans — especially those with a computer — either amused by or disgruntled about the Blue Jays’ atrocious start to the season. The Toronto third baseman doesn’t care for the Internet criticism, though, and he decided to fire back in the most jabroni way possible. “All u people who chirp when things don’t go good have never done anything in pro sport .. Ever .. So shut ur mouths #LetsGetThisThingg #jays,” Lawrie tweeted on Thursday. Oh, the “I’m an athlete, and you’re stupid” card. Nicely played, Brett. Only it isn’t. We’ve seen plenty of athletes use a similar defense mechanism in the past, and we’ll undoubtedly see it again as long as the Internet doesn’t vanish into some sort of abyss. That doesn’t make it any less lame, though, especially when said athlete fumbles all over himself from that point on. “I expect that,” Lawrie said of the online criticism, according to the Toronto Star. “I expect a lot out of myself, but at the same time I’m not going to sit there and take all that from people that I don’t know. So if I want to say something back, I have more than the right to. Freedom of speech. People want to come at me with something then I’m not scared to say something back.” Lawrie is absolutely right. He can say whatever he wants. That’s the luxury of free speech, and as a result, the Internet is essentially a giant free-for-all — Twitter, especially. But going off that, “I’ll say whatever the hell I want” mantra, why then should Lawrie insist his critics shut their mouths? That’s hypocritical, no?” The hypocrisy isn’t even the worst — or best, if you’re like me and enjoy watching people say dumb things — part of Lawrie’s 140-character temper tantrum. The real genius move was him trying to delete the tweet. This is 2013 and once something’s out there, it’s out there. Why not stand by what you say (or tweet)? At least handle the backlash, especially if you’re later going to puff out your chest, toss around freedom of speech like you’re a founding father and proclaim, “I’m not scared to say something back.” It’s like the kid who causes a fight, stands in the corner and then talks after the fight about how he was ready to drop someone. In Lawrie’s defense, he is spot-on about one thing. Even despite his struggles, his athletic ability is far superior than the average human’s. That gift enables him to play a professional sport for a living, which believe it or not, also puts Lawrie in the public spotlight. Sure, plenty of people tend to get a little too worked up — again, one man’s opinion — about players or teams who don’t play well, but the Internet trolls are something athletes and celebrities must deal with. The critics could direct their frustration toward Billy Green the city worker, but Twitter upheaval doesn’t exactly come with that profession’s territory. The simple solution for Lawrie if he doesn’t want to put up with people’s Twitter criticism is to delete his account. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, though. Baseball analyst and former big league catcher Gregg Zaun suggested such, and Lawrie tweeted, “@greggzaun I should get off twitter? .. I’ll do wat I want actually .. #TakeCareNow.” Well, if Lawrie plans to do what he wants, we should probably all do the same — athletic ability notwithstanding. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here. 

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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