Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan had 256,000 followers on his verified Twitter account, which has been active since July 2010, before deleting that account on Monday night.
He’s tweeted some life moments, like a photo from his wedding. He’s had some fun, like when he joined Phil Kessel in piling on the U.S. World Cup of Hockey team after they were snubbed. And he’s had some questionable moments, which will get to in a bit.
First, from TSN, here’s Ryan on dumping that account:
Ryan has toyed with the idea of scaling back his social media presence in the past. Prior to the 2015-16 season, he vowed to tweet less often after a disappointing end to the previous campaign.
But now Ryan has deleted his verified public account completely. The Senators forward has been known to be an engaging and entertaining social media user, but Ryan was starting to feel bogged down by the negative aspects of Twitter. He says there wasn’t one particular thread or interaction that caused him to quit – even though there was a negatively slanted discussion on Sens Twitter happening Monday night about the team’s six-game winning streak in Ryan’s absence.
“People ask about the negativity thing, but you can filter that as much as you want. I try not to engage because I’m never going to win an argument with a guy in his basement, so why bother?” Ryan explained. “You get nowhere with it. At a certain point, you can get it out of your life and not worry about it.”
(A “guy in his basement.” Drink!)
What didn’t make the TSN story, either because Ryan didn’t address it or because it wasn’t on writer Ian Mendes’s radar, were some questionable decisions by Ryan to support Islamophobic rhetoric and other controversial messages.
They were deleted, and now they’re completely deleted, but they were screen-capped here:
— RJ Garcia (@rgarcia57) February 2, 2017
And from Welcome To Your Karlsson Years, some further background:
If you’re concerned that this examination of Ryan’s comments is a stretch or an overreaction, please note it fits a pattern of behaviour with the Sens winger. Last year when the Sens were visiting St. Louis, Black Lives Matter protests were in full swing. These activists and community members were protesting the murder of black teen Mike Brown by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ryan callously tweeted that the protests were interrupting his pregame nap. It showed disdain for both the protesters and their cause. It would have been a perfect metaphor for white privilege except it wasn’t a metaphor, it was real life.
Ryan’s prejudiced behaviour on twitter goes beyond his tweets. His “likes” are a dumpster fire of racism. They reveal a penchant for agreeing with the worst racists active in American politics right now. He’s liked tweets about Donald Trump preventing Muslims from entering the United States and racists tweets about Barack Obama. There are more examples. This is a pattern, this is prejudice. Like everyone, he’s entitled to his opinions. Like everyone, he’s not above criticism.
Here’s that tweet from St. Louis:
None of this is to say that Bobby Ryan shouldn’t have spoken his mind, or that as a professional athlete he doesn’t take copious amounts of crap from fans. (His deletion of Twitter coincided with some hockey fans taking a run at him for the team playing well in his absence.)
But it’s egregious not to mention some of his social media behavior that, let’s say, made him look like that guy in a basement rather than the professional athlete putting himself above that guy.
This isn’t about the politics, but rather the full picture. If it’s negativity that drove him off social media, well, negativity begets negativity.
MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS