In 2003 I was in attendance at the Rosegarden for a sold out Dallas Mavericks-Portland Trailblazers playoff game. Thirteen Year Old(at the time) Natalie Mentor was singing the National Anthem. About one-third of the way through she forgot the words. What could have been the butt of many jokes for many years for Natalie turned into a great feel good moment. Portland coach Maurice Cheeks, players from both teams , the referees and then the entire arena chimed in to help her through the song. I sang along as well.
In 2003 there was no sports gossip site such as Deadspin” to launch into the type of vicious bullying attack as they did on eleven year old Harper Gruzins who turned in a less than stellar National Anthem performance at a recent Dallas-Los Angeles MLS soccer game. Deadspin published an article asking readers if Harper’s performance was the “Worst National Anthem Ever”
If you want to go in front of thousands and sing the national anthem you open yourself up to public criticism if you stink . I get it. Every performer has a flop in their career and hopefully Harper will be the stronger for it. That is not bullying. When however, sensationalized criticism crosses the line into encouraging others to heap vitriol and toss personal insults at an eleven year old girl that is bullying and that it where Deadspin crossed the line when the author stated:
“…and any kid who has that much pretension at age 11 deserves to be knocked down a few notches”
Really Timothy Burke? An eleven year old deserves to be “knocked down” because you did not like her web site and singing? Sounds like a bully personality right there. Eleven years old would put Harper in fifth or sixth grade. An age where bullying is often a part of life from classmates. How nice of Timothy, who I assume is a grown, educated adult to jump into the bullying fray by telling his readers that Harper deserved to be “knocked down” verbally. Not only does Natalie have to deal with classmates who will choose to attack her, Timothy decided to create a “bully lynch mob”in his readership who will “self-define” what is necessary to “knock her down a few notches” Much of it will no doubt will have nothing to do with critiquing her performance. They will be hateful personal attacks. That is bullying. Good job Timothy for taking an eleven year old child down a few notches. A banner achievement for you. I wonder if you will have the same perspective when other children or a grown adult decides to ” take down” your kids.