Kyle Williams is a good young player for the San Francisco 49ers. But last night, in the biggest game of that good, young career, Williams messed up. Twice. Those mistakes — a fumbled punt return in the fourth quarter, and another fumbled punt return in overtime — were critical, and ultimately led to the 49ers losing out on a trip to the Super Bowl.
Last night, as Williams’ night (and the Niners’ season) fell apart in front of America, his Twitter account was bombarded by angry fans. Here are some of the messages he received, which provide a nice little digital snapshot of what it’s like when you’re the goat (and what it’s like when people take sports too seriously).
@KyleWilliams_10. I hope you, youre wife, kids and family die, you deserve it (@javpasquel)
@KyleWilliams_10 you should jump off the golden gate bridge for that one. #fired (@KillaKlips)
@KyleWilliams_10 HOPE U RUN n2 A BULLET DA WAY U RAN INTO DAT BALL FUCKN DUMMY OR HOPE U DROP YA 1ST BORN LIKE U DROP DAT BALL U FUCKN IDIOT (@Markymeagain)
you fucking suck and I hope you get cut! @KyleWilliams_10 (@tomidontplaydat)
Im on you all day @KyleWilliams_10 fuckin choked… Damn loser (@Mr_Coo_Coo502)
@KyleWilliams_10 keep ur head up. U r my brother n teammate N I would put u back there all over again. We all lost this game tonight not u.
@KyleWilliams_10 hold your head high bro. You had an amazing season. I’m proud to be your teammate.
Obviously, one of the bad things about social media is that it provides fans an opportunity to say some pretty embarrassing things in the heat of the moment, and mainline their loss-induced venom — death threats, epithets — directly into the player, faster then ever. The good thing about social media, though, is that it helps the backlash to that venom arrive quicker, too: there’s already a groundswell of support for Williams, as people take a step back, read what was said to him last night, and shake their heads.
This is Kyle Williams’ second year in the NFL. He’ll have more opportunities to make up for last night. But it’s going to be a long off-season, both for him and his Twitter account.