Tony Stewart column draws ire, hatred

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

For a long time, I have known that sports fans are a passionate group of people. That’s especially true when it comes to race fans. Instead of cheering for a group of people more commonly called a team, they cheer for an individual, and this tends to makes it a much more personal matter. Never have I been reminded of that fact more than I was last week.

Following my column about the “Tony Stewart incident,” I was bombarded with comments, e-mails and Facebook messages. I have absolutely no problem with anyone who ever disagrees with my opinion on an issue. That is what makes sports and life worth living. It would be a very boring existence if all of us agreed 100 percent of the time on everything.

What I do take exception with is the people who turn their opinions into personal attacks. The overwhelming majority of those people who chose to voice their displeasure with my opinion by calling me names, or insulting my intelligence, or even going so far as to threaten me and my family with physical violence haven’t an iota of a clue of what type of person I am.

It’s perfectly acceptable to say “Your opinion sucks” or “I couldn’t disagree with you more.” What was unnerving is the way people resorted to turning it into a personal attack.

This made me stop and ask myself, “What has happened to our society?” No longer can we simply disagree on something. Why do people believe it must be elevated to a venom-spewing, name-calling response or else it doesn’t carry any value? I found that to be terribly sad and pathetic. I actually felt sorry for many of the people who wrote those hateful messages. Could their lives really be that miserable?

I knew darn well when I wrote the column that not everyone would agree with my position. I didn’t want all of you to. I also knew that Stewart has a legion of fans who would gladly go to their grave defending anything and everything he does. What I didn’t expect was how many hate-filled people are willing to spring into attack mode simply because they disagree with an opposing opinion.

For those few people who took the time to write a word of encouragement or to congratulate me for standing up against what transpired and saw things as I did, I truly appreciate your support.

For those readers who preferred I be drawn and quartered, I hope your entire life is not filled with that level of hatred. I also hope you’ll take a moment the next time you disagree with anyone’s opinion and think about your response. Try to state your position on the issue in a manner that is intelligent, coherent and meaningful, and I promise you it will carry a ton more weight than simply telling someone what a $%%#&#%@*@* they are!

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Aug. 20-26, 2014, issue

8 thoughts on “Tony Stewart column draws ire, hatred

  • Aug 20, 2014 at 9:37 am

    You are a true class act. Well said Doug!

  • Aug 20, 2014 at 10:30 am

    As long as our political leaders are allowed to use the same tasteless language on each other and our President, so will the people they lead.

  • Aug 20, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Sure it’s easy for you to call others hate filled but you spewed your own hate against and innocent man.

  • Aug 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    So just read the original article after receiving my normal Google alert on Tony Stewart.

    So lets get back to the facts…You decided from a video that Tony Stewart could have taken evasive action. So this is code for saying Tony purposely meant to run down Mr Ward. Although you were not there as a witness, nor have any additional facts in the case you decided to write an article and state Tony is hot head which was the underlying historical basis for the cause and effect death of Mr Ward.

    Flimsy facts and irrational at best. The article achieved your slated goal of web clicks to keep your editor happy. Why don’t you move on the riots in Ferguson…an article prejudging the police officer involved in the shooting would probably do the trick to cover you into next month…

  • Aug 20, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    The title of the article was “Tony Stewart’s NASCAR career should be over.” In that article, the author stated:”This was not that type of testosterone-driven retaliation. This was much worse. It’s unforgivable for anyone to strike an unprotected pedestrian with a race car. I don’t care how provoked Stewart may have felt, he was — and always will be — 100 percent wrong for not steering his car completely clear of Ward.”
    The author states that he is upset with what he describes as personal attacks. Isn’t it a personal attack to say that an individual should no longer be able to work in his chosen occupation?

    • Aug 21, 2014 at 7:05 am

      Tony, at 30 mph, veered 45 degrees from the bottom of the track to the top of the track in less than 50 feet. The next car was 3-4 lengths ahead of him. That car was hugging the inside lane. There was no dirt flying. There was enough light to let a handheld camera capture the logos on wards unform from across the track. Tony buzzed a crash site against race etiquette.

  • Aug 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Aaron….exactly which video is it where you see Tony Veering at 45 degrees from the bottom of the track to the top? Please share a video link…..only video I have seen shows a straight driving vehicle which swerves at the last second away from ward…..never veering up as you state and NEVER at the top of the track until right after the incident when he pulls up and over. Please share the video your watcing

  • Aug 23, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    We should keep Tony Stewart on the track and off the streets as much as possible…..he just doesnt need to be driving around that many pedestrians.

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