Neighborhood battle takes an unexpected turn
On occasion I interact with parents of BC athletes. One of my first recommendations is “don’t read the BC message boards.” I base this advice on history and the nature of the forum. Mostly unmonitored and relatively anonymous posters pick apart all aspects of the players and coaches lives with little worry about fact, slander or the consequences of their posts. I am not condemning the medium. I am active on one board and have spent numerous hours reading and enjoying both. They are vital to BC sports. However, every message board (including those outside of sports) builds up its own patois, list of references and humor that can easily be taken out of context by outsiders. At the end of the day, message boards are not for the faint of heart. If you are easily offended or sensitive, it is best to avoid and ignore them.
That preamble leads me to this bit of news via the Brighton blog: community activists are aware that they are being discussed and mocked on the BC message boards. For better or worse, BC is getting involved. The school has apologized for the behavior of the boards and may take action against Scout and/or Rivals.
In my opinion, BC should steer clear of this whole mess. Neither site is owned or officially affiliated with the school. If these remarks had run in the reader comments section of a Herald or Globe article, would the school feel the need to get involved? In my opinion these activists will never be happy with any BC solution for the Brighton campus (nor any changes to the main campus). Engaging in dialogue about these offensive comments or apologizing for the actions of anonymous message board posters just distracts from the bigger issue at hand -- the land. The neighbors have shown very little flexibility or willingness to discuss realistic solutions. Acknowledging this message board nonsense or even taking partial responsibility just reinforces the activists firmly-held (and unlikely to change) beliefs that BC and its community are a bunch of ogres trying to destroy Brighton.
As for the comments themselves…I don’t condone them. They are in poor tastes. But I don’t think anyone should give them any attention. I’ve seen much worse on the internet. The reality of today’s world (where anything can be said on a message board or blog and personal information is readily available via google) is that the minute these Brighton folks got involved and started writing, campaigning and giving interviews they opened themselves up as targets. (I should know. I receive all sorts of random and often harassing emails from people who don’t like BC sports.)
I would love to see this all get resolved. BC needs the Brighton campus. It would also add to the community around campus. But any long-time observer of the situation can tell you this won’t end smoothly or soon. Let’s move forward. The focus should be on solutions that work, not offensive online nonsense.