Former PGA Tour golfer Steve Elkington grabbed everyone’s attention yesterday when he tweeted this out:
@elkpga — ESPN reporting Michael Sam is leading the handbag throw at NFL Combine…No one else expected to throw today.
Deadspin, ESPN and a bunch of other outlets picked up on the tweet and went nuts over it.
Of course, that’s exactly what Elkington wants.
He’s no stranger to trolling on Twitter. He’s been known for outlandish tweets bashing the President (Elkington is an Australian native, if that matters) and last month produced a tweet jokingly poking fun at a helicopter crash.
I’m not defending Elkington when I say/write this, but it’s true: Elkington used to be a really good professional golfer (who, oddly, developed a grass allergy) who hasn’t been in the spotlight for a decade or more. He likes to drink alcohol. He’s bored. He used to be a pretty big deal – in golf – and he no longer is.
Now, as of early yesterday afternoon, nearly 50 people had “re-tweeted” Elkington’s “handbag” tweet.
Therein lies the problem.
That’s exactly what Elkington wants. He wants to be noticed. He wants to have people laugh at him, poke at him, and say, “That Elkington…he’s a nut!”
A while back, people used to watch Elk play golf and would say, “Damn, that guy is freakin’ good!”
Now, he’s just a rich, worn out ex-touring pro who can probably still shoot 69 with the boys at the club on Saturday morning but would get run over on TOUR week in and week out.
So, now, he’s taken to Twitter to stay in the spotlight and be noticed.
It’s not that different than a certain “contributor” on my blogs who consistently shows up to hammer me no matter what the topic — and it almost always ends up turning personal because, simply, he just doesn’t like me as a person. After a while, I just stop interacting with him. Last week when he was particularly nasty towards me, a few other commenters bashed him and it was quickly turning into a snark-fest before I stepped in to tell “my people” to stop. That’s what the trolls want — they swoop in, say something to rile up the masses, then sit back and giggle.
As I said in my edict to the commenters on my blog last week — “Don’t feed the animals.”
If people are that offended by stupid stuff Steve Elkington posts on Twitter, the easiest thing to do is, a) unfollow him and, b) don’t retweet it if you do follow him.
The great Charley Eckman had a famous line, “It’s a very simple game.” Elkington isn’t going away anytime soon. He’s going to be on Twitter today, tomorrow, next month and next year, most likely. But you don’t have to feed the monster if you’re offended by something he tweets.
I thought the “handbag” tweet was silly. I giggled, honestly, because it was “so typical” of Elkington I couldn’t help but snicker when I saw the tweet.
But I also know the issue at hand and I knew what Elkington was getting at and it never once dawned on me to retweet his offensive remark.
If it offends you or you consider it offensive, just don’t retweet it and that’s that.
It’s a very simple game.