Fan frustration with the New York Knicks has never been higher. And rightly so: The team has been a train wreck for much of the season and now stands in danger of falling out of the playoff race completely—in February.
But as if we all needed a reminder of what it means to “take it too far,” a Staten Island, N.Y., teenager who threatened owner James Dolan over Twitter is quickly becoming a cautionary tale on that very front.
As first reported by WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell on Friday, 19-year-old John Giamella was arrested and charged with aggravated harassment for his comments, via CBS New York:
He said of the Knicks owner in his email postings, “it’s officially time to die — I really hate James Dolan.”
The head of security for Madison Square Garden picked up on the threats, as well as three photos of Giamella showing himself naked and holding a gun, Cornell reported.
The complaint against Giamella notes that the victim was alarmed, feared for his safety, and the safety of fans who attend the games at Madison Square Garden.
Despite the overtly public nature of Twitter, there’s a tendency to believe that one’s bluster and bombast will somehow disappear amidst the sheer volume of information.
Sometimes, the Knicks go out of their way to instigate the barbs, as Mike Woodson did when he called out the loyalty of some in Knick Knation, via ESPN New York’s Ian Begley:
Woody: "I think true fans who know what's going on ... they accept what's going on around me & there r some who don't accept it & that's OK'— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) December 19, 2013
When you brandish a firearm and threaten to end the life of a high-profile billionaire? That’s a different story.
It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely where the line is between legitimate anger and frustration on the one hand and reckless threats on the other, but we’re pretty sure Mr. Giamella crossed it. And then he kept walking for a good 10 miles.
But there’s another, more hidden—and decidedly weirder—narrative at play here: Dolan has a security contingent scouring the Interwebs for defamatory fodder.
For an owner long lambasted for being totally out of touch with his fanbase, it sure seems like Dolan is paying attention.