Royce Young is an NBA reporter for ESPN covering the Oklahoma City Thunder. That means he’s been in the press room all these years, watching the icy relationship between Thunder star Russell Westbrook and Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel take shape. Westbrook has no love lost for Tramel, whom he told “I just don’t like you” back in 2015 and hasn’t let up since. Tensions boiled over early this week once again as Westbrook refused to answer Berry’s questions.
"You want me to tell him…?" PG to Russ as Westbrook continues feud with Oklahoman columnist pic.twitter.com/aEfyz6VALD
— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) April 20, 2019
Tramel has refuted the notion that Westbrook has singled him out, instead noting that Russ has a problem with the media in general. He says that Westbrook seems to treat all media members the same, which unfortunately invites his defenders and fans to back him up under the guise of protecting their guy.
That brings us back to Young, who was reporting what he saw, as he usually does, with some commentary that you’d expect from an insider. That’s when he received a particularly ugly comment from one of those trolls.
What in the world is wrong with people? Seriously, what is wrong with you to write something like this to a person you don't know?
I don't agree with everything people say online but you keep it human. This is disgusting, wrong and inhuman behavior. It's not funny. It's cruel. pic.twitter.com/Lzv4QVFL1n
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) April 22, 2019
That particularly nasty comment refers to the fact that Royce and wife Keri lost their daughter Eva in 2017 when she was stillborn. Their story made headlines when they revealed that they had decided to carry Eva to term despite the fact that she had Anencephaly, a condition in which an infant is missing the cortex of their brain, which meant she would only live for a very short time after birth. Through the devastation, the Youngs were able to raise awareness about neonatal organ donation and the emotional toll this kind of situation can take.
They shared it as a way to help. To use it as a cudgel to attack Royce with, especially over something as asinine as an NBA player game, is just inhumane.
Thankfully, people came out of the woodwork to shout down that comment and remind everyone about the kind of character Royce and Keri displayed then and now in his response.
So sorry to see the message you received today, @royceyoung. We all saw what you went through back then. I hope through this troll, people look up your story and understand what a true servant's heart is all about. God bless you and your family today.
— Cliff Brunt (@CliffBruntAP) April 22, 2019
Royce, you are both an outstanding reporter and an outstanding person. I am proud to call you a professional colleague and I echo Cliff's sentiments. I hope the outpouring of support you're receiving lifts the spirits of you and your family today!
— Murray Evans (@murrayevans) April 22, 2019
Just got off a plane, but all the love to @royceyoung, a tremendous family man and colleague.
We can have discussions about sports without people acting like garbage humans. There's no place for this anywhere. https://t.co/UKL4fiby9x
— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) April 22, 2019
That guy was a coward. Reckless, heartless jerk, who’s so tough on Twitter he had to delete his account. Royce, we got you man. Much love to you & yours. 👊🏽
— Jorge Sedano (@SedanoESPN) April 22, 2019
Keri Young also responded in kind, noting that rather than focusing their anger on this troll, supporters should instead make sure they’ve signed up as organ donors and turn it into positive energy.
In the last 2 years neonatal organ donation has gone up 300% because of our daughter’s legacy. If you’re mad at someone for being rude to Royce on Twitter, and feel like you want to do something about it, be a pal and sign up here to be an organ donor: https://t.co/xH0y8wIG9E ❤️
— Keri (@keri_young) April 22, 2019
And in an added bonus, the original troll deleted his account. Then, someone else grabbed the name and turned it into one that supports the Youngs and their cause.