May 17, 2011

Twitter + Athletes = Trouble

By - Kris Fletcher

Personally, I think Twitter is one of the top ten most ignorant inventions in the history of mankind. I mean, if you actually care that so-and-so is sitting around watching television or that they just went to the grocery store or whatever, you have some serious issues and are in dire need of getting a life.

Obviously though, there's plenty of people that love it, seeing as how there are an estimated 200 million people tweeting worldwide. Tons of that 200 million are celebrity-type people or athletes. Which I suppose if Twitter is actually handy in any capacity, it would be to that group. That way, they can "speak" to the masses in 140 characters or less and continue going about their day.

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The problem is, athletes, who usually aren't the brightest crayons in the box to begin with, really seem to have a hard time grasping the whole concept of what Twitter is for. I suppose it makes sense though. They turned out to be jocks and not doctors for a reason right?

Since Twitter launched back in 2006, countless numbers of athletes have made the mistake of saying something they shouldn't have, or aired dirty laundry via tweets. When exactly are these guys gonna learn?

Just in the past month, Reggie Bush, Rashard Mendenhall and Shannon Brown have all made headlines not for something they did on the field or court, but for something ignorant they posted on Twitter.

Don't get me wrong, it's not always what they post, it's HOW the post is taken. Someone reading a tweet can't pick up on sarcasm, or can't tell if what they're typing is in a "joking" manner, so stuff that's meant to be in good fun often turns into a big controversy.

Sure, some of it can be chalked up to your everyday Joe's ignorance in misinterpreting the tweet, but in the end it still falls back on the athletes to take some responsibility for what they post, and to use some common sense when it comes to social networks. Everyone can see everything they put out there, so in most cases, more harm than good will come out of it.

Do I think Reggie Bush was just kidding when he said he was glad mini-camps weren't open and he was glad he wasn't having to participate in two-a-days in 100 degree temperatures? Yes I do.

Do I think Rashard Mendenhall had every right to go on Twitter and voice his opinion on the reported death of Osama bin Laden? Yes I do.

Do I think Shannon Brown has the right to proclaim to the world that he didn't sleep with Pau Gasol's girlfriend if he so chooses to? Sure, why the hell not.

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Just because I take what they tweet a certain way though, or because I think they have the right to do it, doesn't mean that they should, or that they should even be discussing the topics that they're choosing to discuss to begin with. The general public and media in particular just love to find ways to criticize people and bring them down. The damage people can cause themselves in that little 140 characters or less can very easily become something they can never recover from.

In closing, as far as athletes go, if something is so important that they feel the need to share it with someone, they should probably just go the old school texting route. At least then it's going to the one person in particular they know they're sending the text to.

Besides, in the grand scheme of things, the other 199,999,999 tweeters of the world aren't really that important anyway are they?...


  1. I agree. I don't understand the popularity of Twitter at all. Athletes need to just stay off of it all together. Some teams ban their players from even being on it, which is a good idea.

  2. Hahaha I've been thinking this same thing forever.

    Athletes just need to stay off the internet period. Gets them in nothing but trouble.

  3. The Shannon Brown thing was just ridiculous. No reason to even bring someting like that up on his part. No wonder the Lakers got swept.

  4. I somewhat disagree.

    I think Twitter is a great way to communicate with large groups of people, but I agree with what you said about it being the athletes responsibility to be careful what they post.

    Some things just do not need to be brought to EVERYONES attention, and post certain things on Twitter, Facebook, etc. does just that.

  5. The Shannon Brown thing was strange to me. I hadn't heard anything about him supposedly doing anything with Gasol's girlfriend UNTIL he posted that tweet. Crazy.