By Julie DiCaro–

(CBS) Did you know there’s a Horse Twitter? I didn’t either, blissfully — until Monday.

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I’m sure Horse Twitter has existed, in the shadows, like so many other Twitters that probably shouldn’t.

What sets Horse Twitter apart from other niche Twitters, my friends, is rage. There was rage that Serena Williams — a woman with four gold medals and 21 grand slam titles (three in 2015) to her name — was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year instead of … wait for it … American Pharaoh. In case you don’t follow Horse Twitter, American Pharaoh is a horse. A Triple Crown winner yes, but a horse, nonetheless.

Setting aside the obvious issue that a horse is, by definition, not a Sportsperson, the level of sheer angst displayed by Horse Twitter over the mainstream media conspiracy to slight American Pharaoh was truly a sight to behold.


Once again, thoroughbred horse racing has been denied by mainstream sports media. I am disappointed to announce Triple Crown and Grand Slam champion American Pharoah has not been named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year Award for 2015. Instead the award went to tennis star Serena Williams. Despite an overwhelming victory in the fan vote by American Pharoah, maybe this sad announcement should come as no real surprise.

And that’s the most lucid and reasonable of Horse Twitter’s comments. Behold:

To be fair, American Pharaoh did win the reader’s poll, which was acknowledged by Sports Illustrated in its own little section on the same page as Williams. And Sports Illustrated does bear a measure of blame for even giving readers the choice to vote for a beast of burden in a category titled Sportsperson of the Year.

However, if Donald Trump’s candidacy has taught America anything, it’s that the popular vote doesn’t always result in the most sane choice. And it’s tough to sympathize with people who believe a livestock are more deserving of recognition “for what he did off the track” (no, I’m not kidding) than an actual human woman.

Of course, the fact that Sports Illustrated took great pains to explain why Williams was chosen for the award meant little to Horse Twitter, which chalked the whole ordeal up to a liberal conspiracy against … horses? Horse racing? Horse Twitter?

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It’s not quite clear.

Touche, good sir. Serena didn’t win the Triple Crown. What she did do, however, was this:

Williams, 34, won three major titles, went 53–3 and provided at least one new measure of her tyrannical three-year reign at No. 1. For six weeks this summer — and for the first time in the 40-year history of the WTA rankings — Williams amassed twice as many ranking points as the world No. 2; at one point that gap grew larger than the one between No. 2 and No. 1,000. Williams’s 21 career Grand Slam singles titles are just one short of Steffi Graf’s Open-era record. Such numbers are reason enough for Sports Illustrated to name Serena Williams its 2015 Sportsperson of the Year.

Impressive, no?

I’ll admit, if I hung out with the same kinds of people that make up Horse Twitter, I’d probably prefer the company of animals, too. Because here’s the thing:

Getting your community together to game an online poll doesn’t make your opinion right, nor does it magically transform a horse into a person. And the level of anger directed at Sports Illustrated over this decision is unsettling, in that Williams is a secure African-American woman, whereas the invective hurled her way by Horse Twitter appears to come from white, seemingly conservative, horse lovers. Whether or not Horse Twitter hears the note of racism in their comments, many of us do.

In their world, there’s nothing wrong with an animal being chosen over a black woman. But out here, in the real world, that scenario is distasteful at best, downright degrading at worst.

Serena Williams is the queen, and no one else even comes close. Liberal media conspiracy or not, I’m cool with that.

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Julie DiCaro is an update anchor and columnist for 670 The Score. She previously worked for 15 years as a lawyer in criminal and family court. Follow Julie on Twitter @JulieDiCaro or on  Facebook. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.