Social media has changed the game for athletes, collegiate and otherwise, and how they can interact with fans and the media. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram are great for fans who want to feel closer to the players on their favorite teams. On the other hand, it can become detrimental to an athlete who spends time constantly refreshing social media, searching for his own name and the praise – or lack thereof – that comes with it.
Kash Daniel is one of the most-visible leaders on this year’s team – he’s a senior, a fan-favorite, a Kentuckian, a team captain and just a little outspoken. He’s firm in his beliefs, and he isn’t afraid to share them. He certainly doesn’t need to read anyone else’s beliefs online.
“There’s not a harder critic on myself than me. Not Coach Stoops, not Coach White, not Coach Sumrall, especially not anybody on damn Twitter. I could give a rat’s ass what they think about me on that,” Daniel said Wednesday afternoon. “People are going to say this and that about me; that’s cool. I’m just going to play my hardest each and every Saturday, because I know some of this stuff is going to end one day. I’d rather have fun doing it and not have any regrets.”
His advice for the younger guys on the team?
“Don’t read your own press clippings; don’t read into anything on Twitter [or] anything on Instagram,” Daniel said. “It’s fake; it’s not real. It’s just talk. What we do out there on that football field is real… Not what ‘Joe Blow 1997’ says on Twitter.”
Sure, that sounds good in theory. But in an age where people are spending more time than ever on the internet, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for players to stay away from Twitter and other social media platforms and just focus on the game. According to junior outside linebacker Boogie Watson, it’s “definitely hard to do.” But the will to stay away simply comes with age.
“As a freshman and sophomore, I kind of got on Twitter and found a whole lot… So it’s hard for me to tell guys not to do that, when I was the one doing it,” Watson laughed. “At this point in my career, I know that’s all talk. It doesn’t do anything to help us win; it doesn’t really affect the outcome of the game. It just gets you rattled [and] gets your emotions high for no reason.”
It’s one thing for players to read (or try not to read) the opinions of media members and fans, positive or negative. But what happens when it’s another player – namely, a player for Kentucky’s next opponent – talking trash online? Well, that’s an entirely different story.
“Someone is going to see it, and it gets sent to you. I’ve seen that one guy saying we don’t have an offensive threat. I wasn’t even looking for it, and it just got sent to me,” Watson said, referring to the Cardinal-turned-Gator who tried trash talking the Cats, again. “Of course we’re going to see it. We just have to be mature enough, and know your play speaks louder than any social media account.”
And if that’s still not enough? Well, then I guess you can come see about it.
Kash Daniel and Lynn Bowden with some Pre-Game trash talk before last night’s win
(video from WLEX) pic.twitter.com/oQGeTc9f3G
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) September 9, 2019