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Man who made Roger Federer death threat offers apology

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Roger Federer Shanghai

An online commenter posted a death threat against Roger Federer prior to the start of the Shanghai Masters. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Memo to the internet: Words matter. So choose them wisely.

The tennis fan who posted an online death threat against Roger Federer last week has reportedly contacted the tournament in Shanghai to offer an apology. The fan, who posted on the popular Chinese site Baidu.com under the handle “Blue Cat Polytheism Founder 07″ says he got caught up in the heat of a message board debate and said something he didn’t mean. (Read the initial report in Italian here.)

“I’m terribly sorry,” the poster said. “I was arguing with Federer fans and then I wrote something stupid … I hope that the organizers can understand me, forgive me, and if possible send my apologies to Federer and his family.”

The incident has been an unwelcome distraction for Federer, who learned of the threat 11 days ago but decided to play in Shanghai anyway. He arrived late last week without his family, with Mirka and the kids opting to stay home not because of the security threat but because the trip was organized in haste.

“Obviously maybe it’s a little bit of a distraction, there’s no doubt about it. But you have to be aware of what’s happening around you,” Federer said. “But that is the case anyway anywhere I go today with my fame and all that stuff.”

“So then obviously it came out in the press. That’s when things changed. It became much more public, which I’m a bit disappointed about, that it did come out in the press. It was something just very small on a website, nothing clear and concrete, people just debating. That it makes that big news is a bit surprising to me.”

People on internet message boards throwing stupid inflammatory messages at each other over the issue of sports? That really shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  • Published On Oct 08, 2012
  • 5 comments
    Michael9
    Michael9

    This story smells fishy. Did the real “Blue Cat Polytheism Founder 07” actually contact the Shanghai tournament organizers to apologize for his death threats? My brief investigation indicates this is unlikely.

     

    Your TennisWorldItalia site claimed the 'Blue Cat' tennis fan (apparently a fan of Nadal) wrote to Shanghai tournament organizers. How many tennis fans would know how to contact (and get through to) the tournament organizers in the middle of the Shanghai event under heightened security? Such contact information is not obviously available in the Shanghai Rolex Masters website. It’s not always easy to contact someone in China, a huge country of 1.3 billion people. This 'Blue Cat' must be resourceful, apart from making death threats and photoshopping scary pictures. He was able to find out how to contact the tournament organizers and even get through to someone who would bother to read his mail. I guess any letter from “Blue Cat Polytheism Founder 07” gets priority ahead of thousands of junk mail in the middle of the Shanghai event, lol.

     

    I got online at Baidu.com hoping to find this apologetic “Blue Cat Polytheism Founder 07” (aka"Blue Cat Polytheistic Leader 07" or "Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07"). Nada. There is no evidence 'Blue Cat' exists any more. Perhaps he’s morphed into Blue Cat Polytheism Founder No. 08. I doubt it.

     

    No news media (not even in China) has spoken to this ‘Blue Cat’. Nobody really knows who he really is or what happened to him. I don’t trust flimsy stories written by dubious sites like TennisWorldItalia (or its sister site TennisWorldUSA), which probably rehashed equally flimsy and inconsistent one-sentence stories in the Chinese media about Blue Cat’s apology. Based on such dubious reports, I wouldn't jump to conclusions that this is merely a case of "people on internet message boards throwing stupid inflammatory messages at each other over the issue of sports."

     

    The Chinese news media has written very little on this 'Blue Cat'.  Which is surprising given the bruhaha he caused.

     

     So I wonder what really happened to 'Blue Cat'. This guy made several death threats over several days, which is a crime in any country. Did the Chinese authorities find him and arrest him? It’s possible (he should be punished for problems he caused). Did the Chinese authorities plant the story about 'Blue Cat' apologizing in the internet and in the news media? It’s possible.

     

    Federer probably told a fib about the reason that Mirka and the kids stayed at home, in order to downplay the impact of the death threat on him and not worry his fans. Before the death threats started on September 25, the Chinese news media had reported that Federer would be bringing the largest ever entourage to Shanghai. The Shanghai tournament organizers announced to the Chinese media on September 23 that Federer confirmed that he would be playing Shanghai. From September 23 to 26, every day the Chinese news media reported on the details of Federer's visit: that Federer had made visa applications, booked hotel rooms and requested a private stadium box for over 10 people in his unusually large entourage which was supposed to include his twin daughters, Mirka, his mother-in-law, other relatives and friends.  So sometime after September 26 Federer probably cancelled the hotel reservations, visas and private box for his entourage and prudently left them home. This 'Blue Cat's' death threats have impacted Federer, and made him a virtual prisoner  (at least four foreign bodyguards protect him wherever he goes, according to Chinese media).

     

    usable.thought
    usable.thought

     @Michael9 You make some interesting points about the ambiguity and possible contradictions of the situation and the untrustworthiness of digital news sources in this day and age. However, I think you'd have more credibility (at least with me) if you yourself didn't rely so heavily on the cloak of anonymity and didn't make your comments in such a veiled, apparently mocking manner.

    Michael9
    Michael9

     @usable.thought   Hello Randy. I've found that the reliability of any information from any news source -- digital/traditional, 'credible'/unknown -- should always be cross checked with original source information.

     

    - This article's Italian source had red flags. There was no evidence the supposed 'apology' actually came from the 'Blue Cat' person. As well, we do not know who is this serial death threat maker (is he harmless and contrite?) and where he is after this became a police matter. Several writers and fans rushed to believe Italian source because it fit their presumption he was a harmless internet troll.

     

     -  The perfect ending (i.e., he apologizes to the "relevant people", it's all a big misunderstanding, he's not arrested, he's only a harmless  internet troll, life goes on) fails my sniff test because this 'Blue Cat' remains at large in a country that controls and polices its internet more tightly. Would American police stop looking for 'Blue Cat' because he posted an apology after several days of making serial death threats with a decapitated head picture? Even if there's another 'Blue Cat post' -- the first question we should ask is: what proves the  message came from him?

     

    Finally, you use loaded words such as "cloak of anonymity", but anonymity is the accepted norm on the internet. If you presume my post loses credibility because of your desire to know who I am -- then that is your choice and your loss. You should be more interested in whether my points make sense and in verifying my facts. I've empowered you to verify what I wrote by providing adequate information and links. There was nothing "veiled" in my clear and obvious comments. Any mild sarcasm I used cannot be used as an excuse (nobody complains when other articles drip with more sarcasm)

     

    cheers

     

    usable.thought
    usable.thought

     @Michael9 LOL - unfortunately I myself haven't figured out how sign in to LiveFrye except as an "anonymous" commentator! At one point I was able to comment with my real name and now I find the system labels me with my Gmail sign-on, but won't reveal myactual name the way Gmail does in other contexts. - Randy Burgess