Wisconsin Recruit Decommits Because of Message Boards

Interesting read from Gary Parrish last week. It seems Wisconsin commit Vander Blue decided to re-open his recruitment after fans on the Badgers' message boards bashed Blue for everything from his attitude to his academics:

Vander Blue decommitted from Wisconsin earlier this week.

It was not national news.

He is not John Wall.

But what made it a national story -- and perhaps a lesson for the uncivilized world of message boards, if we're lucky -- is that the decommitment was prefaced by a story about the Madison native's alleged academic woes, which led to some Wisconsin fans spending their days publicly bashing the Class of 2010 standout on the Internet. They questioned his attitude, character and intelligence. And guess what? Vander Blue read it and it bothered him.

He is 16 years old, by the way.

"I felt like I was in a corner, trapped and I couldn't get out," Blue told the Milwaukee paper. "I just felt like it was so unnecessary. I don't think I'm that worse of a guy. Sometimes I might be tired and have a little attitude, [but] I don't think I'm a horrible person.

"Forty year-old adults talking about somebody who don't got their license yet; I just felt it was so unnecessary," Blue added. "Picture yourself in my position. Rumors going around, you're just keeping quiet. And you read the article and 1,000 people [are] throwing you under the bus."

Like American Express, anonymity on the internet has its privileges. You can wrap yourself up in it nicely and fire all sorts of shots at people left and right without any regard reprecussions because there simply none to be had. One of the reasons it gets so out of control is sheer volume. At THF, the comment traffic is still at a level that I can reasonably watch most items that pass by and crack down on folks when they cross lines. That is not the case on larger sites where hundreds comments pass over the ether on multiple threads at once. I made it abundantly clear after the loss to Wake Forest that abject negavitity and destructive criticisms leveled out UNC players would not be tolerated. The same would be true of a commit as well though this theory has not been put to the test since all of Roy's recruits have been of fairly high character. The closest I have come to possibly crossing the line was with my commentary of Danny Green's and Ty Lawson's respective situations last summer. In the case of the latter, Lawson openly commented about the way he was being treated by the message boards and you sort of wonder whether Lawson was ready to make the jump just for that reason alone.

The common rule is that a person should never write something online they would not be willing to say to a person's face. I probably do not follow this as closely as I would like but at the end of the day the THF community should be commended for largely keeping the vitrol to a minimal. The discussion here is both well thought and very civil. Please continue to keep it that way.

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