Readers of this site know this writer’s opinion when it comes to athletes tweeting — coaches should outlaw it. Whether it’s a player creating a distraction for his team or his school or someone tweeting out info that ultimately brings down a program and its coaching staff (Butch Davis at North Carolina), there’s very little good that can come from allowing a teenaged representative of a school to post his innermost thoughts on the web for the world to see.
One of the nation’s most sought-after coaches happens to agree. Boise State’s Chris Petersen implemented a Twitter ban on his squad three years ago. To date, Idaho hasn’t had its statehood rescinded, there have been no mass riots, and no Bronco player has lept off a rooftop due to Twitter withdrawal. In fact, the coach says his no-tweeting rule isn’t that big of a deal for anyone:
“It really doesn’t come up around here. They get that. I still believe strongly in that just because it can be emotional, and all of a sudden they hit that send button, and five minutes later, they’re going, ‘Oh.’ There are so many other forms of media out there.
I think they’re scared to death we’re going to take away Instagram, Facebook, Vine and all those other things, so they don’t say a word about Twitter. The important thing is, there are a lot of other social media outlets that our kids do use, and they do know, if they’re not smart and careful with it, that may go away as well. It’s a privilege to be here, it’s a privilege to play college football.
If you’re not doing it the right way and representing this university, your family and the rest of your teammates the way they need to be represented, then you don’t need to be on that stuff.”
Twitter become the place to show one’s emotions and bare one’s soul in the moment. Why allow someone 22 or younger to possibly hurt themselves, their program and their school with something that’s nothing more to most of these kids than the latest fad technology?
As someone who writes for a living, I can tell you there’s an added worry that goes along with tweeting. Some of you who like to post comments on websites and at messageboards have experienced it, too. That worry: No inflections.
There are no inflections in the written word. You may write something in a calm, cool voice but an angry person doing the reading may read your words and interpret them as being part of a angry rant. It’s easy to pick up on sarcasm when you’re talking with someone, not so much when you’re reading his tweet.
There are a million reasons for coaches to ban or limit Twitter. Petersen has done just that and he continues to win games. Louisville’s Rick Pitino bans Twitter during the season and he just won another NCAA Tournament. There have been no player revolts. And the coaches and administrations at Boise State and Louisville have one less thing to worry about when it comes to their young ambassadors.