I personally don’t have time for message boards since I’ve devoted myself to this site full-time, but a lot of other people head to them to keep up with the times. One of those people just happens to be University of Maryland alum Scott Van Pelt. SVP frequents a great number of College Football boards but most notably the Rivals.com offshoot Terrapin Times.

Another person who frequents that site is the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg who just happened upon a heated “internet” exchange between SVP and another Maryland fan (I’m going to highlight a few things here, but you have to head over to the DCSB for the whole exchange).

SVanPelt, Saturday, 9:21 pm
Title: You Are So Weak

So far today you have trashed….one of our feature backs…and a kid whose dad frequents the board…and someone else in a thread that got pulled. You are the worst thing about internet sites…an idiot with 10 bucks a month. You claim (in caps no less) to love UM football and basketball. Really? Then why weren’t you there tonight? Anyone who is local that WANTED to be…was. You are a piece of garbage and I loathe you and all your kind.

loudterp, Saturday, 9:33 pm
Title: Re: You are so weak – Van Pelt – You make me sick

You come out of your little ESPN hole and make your comments. I don’t care enough about you to loathe you. You really need help. If his dad frequents the board – good for him and this is part of the risk you take when your kid plays at a high profile school at QB. He’ll hear worse things and I don’t think he’ll play, but I hope he proves me wrong. I did not trash him – you are so damn dramatic. I am the worst thing about internet sites? I’d say this to your face as well, so I’m not worried about your position. I do love MD and I think Keon gives us much more and should play the majority of the time. It showed today. I had health reasons – you piehole..- for not making the game and gave away my tickets..I do not care for you..

SVanPelt, Saturday, 9:41 pm
Title: I make YOU sick?

you internet joke….I will worry when Ralph or Gary has a problem with me. juggle, clown….juggle.

Ha…the juggle comment is actually very funny, but I think there’s a much bigger issue here. Where do Announcers, Anchors, and Analysts draw the line when it comes to their fandom? There are two trains of thought when it comes to the exchange above….

First, I would go as far as to say that Scott Van Pelt is one of the Top 5 personalities that ESPN has on their network. The fact that he is such a fan is awesome. I think the majority of MD Fans (like myself for Basketball) know he loves the team, and I think he does a great job of balancing that love with his job. It comes across in his broadcasts and that’s what makes him enjoyable…..unlike just about everyone else at that network. I also think it’s cool that he posts under his real name. What does he have to be ashamed of?

But on the other hand, isn’t a bit hypocritical to call someone out for posting his opinions on a Message Board when you’re doing the same thing? It’s tough not to stick up for yourself in certain situations, but in the end it’s really counterproductive (like when I argue with Anon commenters). It’s his “job” to be unbiased and most sports journalists and television personalities lose their allegiances when they go into the business.

That’s one of the reason I read blogs before mainstream media. There’s no spin or angle….they’re just telling the truth and how they feel about the team. And even better….you can disagree with them right to their face, er in the comments. That’s why the meshing of MSM and Blogs will eventually be the best thing to happen to Sports.

Well lucky for us Steinberg was thinking along the same lines, and brought all of this to him and more. Here’s just a snipet of what Dan got from an impromptu conversation with Van Pelt (again head over to the WAPO for ….

“Is it stupid for me to do it when my name’s attached to it? I suppose it is, and I’ll quit,” he told me. “I won’t post again, because I don’t want to be misunderstood. But as a guy not representing ESPN, just as a fan, I think it’s incredibly pathetic for a guy just to anonymous[ly] rip on a scholarship athlete who’s doing the best he can. And by the way, I think I’m right….

It’s a tough spot to be in for sure. I guess the biggest no-no was SVP using the words “one of OUR feature backs” and that’s what could ultimately get him in hot water with his employer. But is that really so wrong? I think it’s a shame that he has to hide his devotion to a team he grew up with. You shouldn’t have to pull any punches when it comes to Sports….that’s the best part about them.

I guess Scott’s the one that has to do the actual juggling.

On Message Boards, Scott Van Pelt and Fandom (WAPO: DC Sports Bog)

UPDATE: For another take on the situation head over to Run Up The Score. Just another angle to explore…good stuff.