Over the past twenty years the world has changed to the point where it is almost unrecognizable anymore (says the 25 year old blogger.) Still, we now live in an era of connectedness where people who have never met each in person can be friends, one former lawyer’s blog can be viewed around the world and the smallest decision can be blown wildly out of proportion. With those developments have come a number of new issues for the average person to deal with, but even more for public figures – from Politicians to movie stars to college athletes. With more and more coaches employing bans on Twitter (one of the latest being Steve Spurrier,) it’s an issue worth exploring.
Coaches will often cite Twitter as a ‘distraction’ for the reason they are banning it, and while that may be true, I think it serves a dual purpose. To be honest, I’m certain if I had the magnifying glass on me the way high school recruits and college players do now when I was that age, I would have caused some type of scandal. It probably would have been the lamest scandal ever, involving an underground trading ring of pogs and pokemon cards, but it still would have been a scandal. The fact of the matter is, many of the athletes we follow – as journalists and as fans – have yet to learn about ‘branding’ their public image. All it takes is one tweet sent as a joke to another friend to label a player as a head case, or one blurb about wanting your team mates to step up to make sports radio shows talk about whether or not you’re qualified to be a leader.
Ultimately I think the way Joker handles is might be the best way to go about it. Educate your players on the dangers of twitter and other social media sites. Don’t ban it altogether, but it’s not an issue to be ignored, either. For the sake of the players futures and that of the programs.
Look, it hasn’t happened yet, but I would bet the house that at some point in the future twitter (or some similar site) will land some college star and his university in a heap of trouble. The next time a Terrelle Pryor comes around, for instance, and doesn’t have the wherewithal to keep his tattoo discounts to himself. So would you support a twitter ban? What about if you were an athlete?