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Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  January 23, 2012 04:10 PM

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...That's what it is to read some of the Twitter comments that have been made to 49ers wide receiver/punt returner Kyle Williams, who had two crucial miscues on punt returns that led to points for the New York Giants -- including a fumble in overtime that set up the game-winning field goal -- in Sunday's NFC Championship game.

Williams, who is the son of White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, should know more than most the irrational nature of some sports fans and the vitriol that can follow failure in professional athletics. But this is yet another reminder that fan is short for fanatic. And that sports fanatics can behave the same way as religious ones.

As great a tool as social media are they've also spawned a culture of hateful, nasty and often anonymous invectives being flung at athletes and other public figures. People attacking Kyle Williams need to ask how they'd feel if it were their son or brother receiving death threats over a mere football game?

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The word

Christopher L. Gasper riffs on the news

Dearth

...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.

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