Poor sportsmanship isn’t really a thing. It’s more or less a default state where you have no concern or positive regard for the opponent.
Sportsmanship is a positive set of values regarding your conduct towards other players. It’s something you learn. This is where the question of age is relevant. Typically people learn sportsmanship in actual real life competitions. It’s valued because it makes those competitions overall more enjoyable for competitors and spectators–and the competition is then seen as something that somehow elevates the human condition, particularly with regard to role models. My assumption is that older gamers are more likely to have learned sportsmanship from a real life pursuit before transitioning to online gaming, whereas younger gamers might have spent the entirety of their competitive activity in online gaming. It’s not a question of emotional maturity, but your basic perspective on the issue based on the values you learned.
Because of the anonymity, people online say and do things they would be very unlikely to do in person. This is so endemic to online interactions that the core standard of behavior is to not take things seriously. Get a thick skin, it’s just a game, etc. Trolling is a corollary to this–finding people who actually care or get upset about something and exploiting this “weakness” for amusement. This is a very sad state of affairs if you consider the hours people spend online gaming as a behavioral conditioning that can carry over to other types of interaction.
People have pointed out their experiences in other games where so much more toxic than BB taunts. So what? I’ve experienced plenty of stuff like that in other games as well and the apologetics offered were the same–lighten up, it’s just trolling. Get a thicker skin. Welcome to the internet. And so on. It’s a vapid response. I don’t have a problem with something ergo nobody should have a problem with it.
Do I think the taunting in BB is horrible? No. As people have pointed out, there’s a humorous and artistic aspect to the taunts that makes them worthwhile. Personally it comes across as a kind of gloating. Like every time you kill someone you’re telling them “Ha ha, I killed you.” It doesn’t put me on tilt but it doesn’t exactly bolster that person in my estimation either.
Do I think taunts like this reflect a bad trend in gaming? Yes.