Over the past eight years, Ryan Schultz—a married father of two studying to be a pharmacist—has been a prolific online baseball writer. He's also been a serial harasser of women, who claim he would get drunk, force himself into their online lives, "get aggressively horny," and threaten to hurt himself if they didn't send nude photos of themselves, which some did. "No one expected that this moody White Sox fan from Missouri would actually be a teenage girl," Deadspin reports in an upsetting look at catfishing, digital harassment, sports writing, and how young women see men online. It starts with 21-year-old Becca Schultz, who admitted this week—after being discovered by several women—to creating the "Ryan Schultz" character when she was just 13.
“I wanted to be a sportswriter,” Schultz says. “But I was young and thought that the only way people would notice me is if I was the stereotypical guy." To create that stereotypical guy, Schultz "just acted like I thought a man would do." While writing for blogs under the Baseball Prospectus and SB Nation banners, "Ryan" left a trail of "genuinely hurt" women who felt they had been "emotionally abused and manipulated." Schultz now admits her creation "truly had become a horrible person" but she couldn't extricate herself from the lies because "it worked ... I really was a writer. And at one point I was too selfish to let that go." But the boyfriend of one of the women Schultz targeted still has a question: “If you’re going to make up an entire false identity, why would you make yourself into a shitty person?” Read the full story here