The dangers of the interweb
Umberger, who is married, went online and discovered there were four people posing as him on their own web pages. When he found that some were soliciting women, he had all four accounts canceled.
"They talk to girls on there like they're me," he said. "People out there think they're talking to me and they're asking, 'Aren't you married?' It's ridiculous. Everybody on this team has a fake one and people believe it."
This is essentially what I was trying to articulate with my posts on Jiri Tlusty both here and here. The media grabbed hold of the fact there were compromising photos online and ran with it, but lost in the sensationalism were more subtle, disturbing questions. Why were these photos out there? How was Facebook used to gain access to Tlusty's photos? And why were websites suddenly profiting from the misfortune of a young, naive athlete?
I think those are fair questions, ones that are just as much a part of the story as the photos themselves. It's something I tried to address earlier with Sidney Crosby, and the fact he's under the microscope so much more than past stars were due to the Internet, and something that can't be reiterated enough.
Players need to be warned of the dangers here because not all are as proactive as R.J. Umberger was in snuffing out the shenanigans going on.
Martin Biron recalled a time when, as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, teammate Ryan Miller sat down at his computer, typed his name into MySpace, and found two different people posing as him.It's a scary world out there, and when Biron says "it comes close to identity theft," he's absolutely right. For now, things like DrunkAthlete.com are relatively harmless, but I've got a bad feeling about where this is all headed — and it's good to see the league is acting quickly.
"He's sitting there watching them arguing about being the real Ryan Miller," Biron said, "which is totally weird. Very bizarre. He said he almost wanted to pipe in and say, 'None of you guys are Ryan Miller,' but he didn't want to get involved."