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Former NFL player Brian Holloway was away from home in Florida one weekend, when he began to get tweets related to a giant party being thrown at his upstate New York home. The former Patriots lineman at first believed the whole thing to be a big joke, but after seeing pictures of teenagers partying around his kitchen table, he realized he had a serious juvenile delinquent problem on hishands.
The party was thrown over Labor Day weekend, and between 200 and 400 teenagers swarmed into the player’s home. Altogether, they caused a whopping $20,000 in damage to the poor guy’s New York property including 10 broken windows and glass doors, holes in the walls, damage to the wood floors, and theft of personal items. Holloway’s 19-year-old son, a sophomore at the University of Southern Florida, initially alerted his father to the party and Holloway spent the rest of the night watching in horror from his other home in Lutz, Florida as drunk teens posted pictures of themselves boozing and acting like hooligans. The former football player told the AP that the experience was “unbelievable.”
“We were getting eyewitness reports of what was happening while it was happening. We couldn’t believe what was going down.”
The police showed up on the scene before Holloway could call 911, and the stream of happy tweets quickly changed to warnings about the PD showing up. Holloway was notably annoyed when all of this happened, but he took the whole event in stride. He later returned to New York and is trying to turn it into a positive learning experience for some of the kids by putting together the website Help Me Save 300, which gives the kids an opportunity to show up and help clean his property.
The website features pages and pages of tweets and photos that kids took on the night of the party, publicly outing them in one easy location. NESN is reporting that some parents are outraged that their kids’ public tweets have been reposted on the website, but Holloway really seems to want the kids to get the opportunity to make amends for breaking in and trashing his home.
If there’s a lesson in all of this beyond the fact that breaking and entering is never alright, it’s that a person’s life on the Internet is extremely public. Everyone makes the occasional mistake. Teens are certainly not immune to making bad decisions, but that doesn’t mean that they should post about those decisions online. The virtual world can often have real world ramifications, and teens need to be taught not only about online safety but also about personal responsibility. Lucky for them, Holloway seems more interested in taking them under his wing than in pressing charges.