CLEVELAND — Tribe pitcher Nick Wittgren and his wife Ashley took to social media Saturday, reporting that their family had been receiving death threats and vulgar insults following the team, soon to be known as the Cleveland Guardians, losing Friday night.
Wittgren was on the mound in the ninth inning with the game against the Tampa Bay Rays tied 4-4. After a rough outing, Wittgren had given up five runs on three hits and a walk over a third of an inning. By the end of the contest, the Rays had toppled the Tribe 10-5.
While Wittgren's bad outing was bound to upset fans, some took things to an unacceptable extreme, sending death threats and explicit insults to him and his family.
His wife, Ashley, took to Twitter Saturday morning to address the threats the Wittgren and his family were receiving.
"I don’t know what the worst part about it is—that this isn’t the first time, that this won’t be the last time, or that other families in sports ALSO receive these regularly," Ashley wrote.
I don’t know what the worst part about it is—that this isn’t the first time, that this won’t be the last time, or that other families in sports ALSO receive these regularly.— Ashley Wittgren, MS CSCS (@ashleyecrosby) July 24, 2021
Nick Wittgren later thanked the fans who were sending well wishes and support to the family while sharing some of the messages he and his wife had been sent.
"I know where you live. I will get you tonight and kill your family. We will see tonight," one message to the Wittgren family said, followed by additional messages reading, "I will kill you," and "I will get your home at midnight. I will shot your family and stab your necks."
That account also posted threatening messages on an image of Wittgren holding his two young sons saying, "I will shot this man tonight before a baby gets a name."
Wittgren also shared messages from another account that wrote, "You a stupid piece of **** clown ****** and I hope your ugly piece of **** kids get cancer and die slowly you rat ****** clown," among other numerous vulgar messages.
"Thank you for all of the kind messages. Sadly this is considered 'normal' in professional sports. It’s happened to 90% of players I know and basically after every bad outing a player has. But there is nothing normal about threatening someone and their families lives," Wittgren wrote in the post sharing the horrific messages he and his family received.
While it is not normal and far from acceptable or tolerable, the messages Wittgren and his family received are, as the Wittgrens pointed out, not uncommon. As recently as April Tribe first baseman Yu Chang addressed fans sending him racist messages after he committed an error that gave up the winning run in a game against the Chicago White Sox.
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