Lindsay Jones Called Bitch, Slut & Worse for Peyton Manning Tennessee Question

An altered image of reporter Lindsay Jones and Peyton Manning tweeted after Manning's Monday press conference. Additional tweets and more below.
An altered image of reporter Lindsay Jones and Peyton Manning tweeted after Manning's Monday press conference. Additional tweets and more below.
Twitter

Two days after his retirement announcement, Peyton Manning is still receiving rapturous praise for his speech, an emotional address that ended with the words, "God bless football."

He didn't offer similar words of encouragement for USA Today's Lindsay Jones, the sole reporter to reference allegations that Manning had pressed his naked butt against the face of a University of Tennessee trainer back in 1996 — an incident revived after it was mentioned in a lawsuit alleging a  "culture that enables sexual assault by athletes" at the school he attended. Instead, he politely deflected the question and moved on.

The same can't be said of many folks on Twitter. Castigation of Jones for daring to mention the issue in the context of Manning's goodbye ranged from disappointment to profane, sexist and offensive assaults.

In my view, the question asked by Jones, a former member of the Denver Post , was absolutely justified. After all, Manning hadn't talked about it since the topic reemerged, and given his retirement, its unlikely he'll make himself available to do so in the near future, if ever. Moreover, she posed it in a respectful manner.

“Over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about things that happened twenty years ago in your career and in your life,” Jones noted. “What can you say now about those allegations and how this has maybe overtaken" his retirement?

"First of all, this is a joyous day and nothing can overtake from this day," Manning responded. "I think it is sad that some people don't understand the truth and the facts. I did not do what has been alleged, and I am not interested in re-litigating something that happened when I was 19 years old. Kind of like my daddy used to say when I was in trouble, 'I can't say it any plainer than that.' This is a joyous day. It's a special day. Like Forest Gump said: 'That's all I have to say about that.'"

The subject wasn't closed on Twitter, however. Immediately, people live-tweeting about the press conference began trying to determine who'd dared to raise the issue, with this message using a sexually derogatory term.

So, too, did this one, sent in response to a congratulatory statement.

Things continued to deteriorate from there, with those trying to defend Jones caught in the crossfire. Here's an example.

Then Jones weighed in with an attempt to explain her motivations:

But far from cooling the Twitter anger, Jones's attempt to engage brought more thunder.

Here's one example....

...as well as a photo collage that compared her to the Saturday Night Live character Debbie Downer:

And these replies were mild in comparison with the ones that used sexual language. Check the hashtag on this one:

Shortly thereafter, this tweeter used two offensive words in the same note....

...while this tweet utilized caps....

...as did this one....

We counted at least fifteen tweets that used the word "bitch." As for the one below, its sender deployed a photo to communicate his ire.

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In an interview with Poynter's James Warren, Jones said that "she turned off her 'notifications' on Tweetdeck" during the onslaught, adding, "I couldn't keep up with them; the majority were very ugly, horrible, hateful, disgusting."

At first, perhaps — but after the immediate onslaught of vitriol aimed in her direction, more and more tweets complimented her for asking what she had, sent by her peers and a good number of folks from the general public.

She's proof that the term "sports journalism" doesn't have to be an oxymoron, despite the presence of so many plain old morons out there.



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