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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Athletes and Twitter

Zimmer focused on the fans tweeting at players in Social Stupidity. While I agree with him, I'm more concerned about athletes using twitter themselves.

We live in the era of social networking. Now Facebook and Twitter are cool because you can have "friends" or "followers" but what other benefits does it have other than that? It really doesn't have any other significant benefits. If anything, it can only cause damage to a person's image, particularly an athlete.

Everything a person posts on Facebook or Twitter can eventually be seen by everyone. Also, the more followers one has, the faster a person's posts or tweets will get noticed. With these factors, it's hard to believe people don't think about what they post. Well, athletes most certainly don't pay attention to what they post or think about about the consequences of the post.

Example #1: Chad Ochocinco's In-game Tweets (09/20/10)

Chad Ochocinco tweeted twice during a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles
The Second of his two tweets:

"Man Im sick of getting hit like that, its the damn preseason [expletive]! 1day I'm gone jump up and start throwing hay makers, #Tylenolplease," he wrote.

What on earth was the purpose of tweeting during the middle of the game? The tweet was referring to a time when he absorbed a huge hit. We can see that you got hit hard. There was no point to tweeting about. People can probably assume that you're going to have a bruise after that hit. 

To make matters worse he broke two NFL rules that he knows or at least should know:
1) NFL players are not permitted to to post messages on social media websites starting 90 minutes before kickoff and until post-game media obligations are fulfilled. 
2) NFL players are not allowed to possess electronic devices (during the time requirements of the previous rule).

So Chad Ochocinco broke two NFL rules just to give his twitter followers something good to read. Is that really worth it? Oh yeah, he was also slapped with a $25,000 fine for breaking these two rules by tweeting. Was entertainment really worth $25,000? Where is the positive in this? There isn't one.

Example #2: Mendenhall's Osama Bin Laden Controversy (05/04/11)

Mendenhall Tweeted: 

"What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..."

Now, his intent probably wasn't to spark up a nationwide controversy but that's what it did. While his statement is correct, is really necessary for him to post this? What benefit could this have for him? Nothing. All it did was portray him as a man who supported Osama Bin Laden. It brought up bad memories for those personally affected by the 9/11 attacks.

It took him a few weeks to clarify what he meant in his tweet. Some people have forgiven him meanwhile others haven't forgiven him. So was just expressing his opinion but what did earn? Nothing positive. He received hostile responses, bad publicity and created a group of people who now believe he's a Bin Laden supporter.

Example #3: J.R. Smith's Tahiry Jose Twitpic (03/09/12)

J.R. Smith tweeted a picture of model Tahiry Jose's rear-end.

(I will not post the image here but for those really interested to see here's the link. Don't worry, the rear-end's blurred out.)

Why would you do this? You are an athlete. People are going to see this; More importantly, the NBA is going to see it. I don't get how he thinks that a picture like this would be okay to post to the 75,000 followers he has. Is this really the purpose of Twitter because if it is, I'm glad I don't use it.

There is nothing positive about this. It just helps you lose followers in some ways and gets you in trouble with the league you represent. The NBA responded by giving Smith a $25,000 fine. 

Now, Smith did delete the picture before the fine however, the in the short amount of time it was posted, the photo went viral. He did learn his lesson as he was quoted saying: "It wasn't the smartest of moves." I glad you learned your lesson however I have been more impressed if you learned your lesson before you posted it.

Example #4: New Your Giants' DE Osi Umenyiora's Mother's Day Tweet (05/13/12)

Giants' Defensive End Osi Umenyiora tweeted:

 "Happy Mothers Day Lesean Mccoy! Enjoy your special day!!"

Umenyiora and Philadelphia Eagles' RB LeSean McCoy have bickering with back and forth with each other since the summer of 2011, when McCoy called Umenyiora "Soft" and "Overrated."

How childish can these tweets get? Now we have grown men calling each other "girls." This sounds like things first grader do. These are professional athletes calling each other names and joking about it. What does that accomplish? In my opinion, it shows how immature these "professionals" are, which I can assure you is not a positive thing.

Umenyiora was not fined for his tweet but he did damage himself in a way. He portrayed himself as an immature child that needs to stay away from Twitter. I don't understand why he needs to do this. If he wants to make a statement, he should train hard in the offseason and hit McCoy hard when the Giants play the Eagles on September 30th and December 30th.

Is it Necessary?

Do athletes need to have a Twitter account? No but it's definitely cool to have. I don't care if they have one. What I care about is what gets posted on their accounts. So of these guys just tweet whatever is on their minds and don't consider how people are going to perceive the tweet. You only get 140 characters for each tweet. That's less than a text message. Is it too much to ask for athletes to think about what they post before they post it? I sure hope not.

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