One idiot shouldn’t ruin it for everyone
By Josh Martin, Sports Editor
Out of thousands of athletes in professional sporting leagues, you’re bound to get a handful of idiots. It’s inevitable. When you look back to any of your elementary school classes, was the whole class well-behaved? Absolutely not. There were little shits throwing their pencils across the room, picking their noses and eating it, and giving their teachers a living hell. But these students were in the minority from what I remember; the rest of the bunch were orderly and keen in doing whatever they were told. Fast forward many years down the road to the “lucky” kids who made it big. Has anything changed? I’d like to assume so, but sadly these now “adults” are still the same old kids who were picking their noses and eating it, but bigger, richer, and more powerful, with things like Facebook and Twitter.
Oh yes, all of these athletes should be aware of the cheesy, yet lovable one-liner from Ben Parker in Spiderman: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Sadly, we get ridiculous tweets from athletes such as the most recent one from Nik Lewis of the Calgary Stampeders, “I just bought OJ’s gloves on eBay. Now all I need is a white girl named Nicole #maybealittletofar.” It didn’t really help his case with the fact that he had a spelling mistake in his hashtag. Nonetheless this player was fined for his comments and played in the Grey Cup Final against the Toronto Argonauts.
BC Lions Khalif Mitchell was also subject to an unprofessional tweet earlier in the season and was fined and suspended by his team after he wrote in a response to which candidate he thought was the winner for the US presidential debate, “Both of them hide money with the Chinks.”
But these examples are only a small portion of the rest of the athletes in the sporting world, a.k.a the idiots of the class. So why should the rest of the class get punished for the idiots’ mistakes? There are so many athletes out there who use the social media devices respectfully and can still have fun with it. Paul Bissonnette of the Phoenix Coyotes in the NHL has become famous because of his personality through his tweets. The fact that a fourth line player in the NHL can become so popular to the public—that usually idolizes the Sidney Crosby’s of the league—is a great progression in today’s game. Reading his tweets, you almost feel like you know him, so when you watch Bissonnette play in games with the Coyotes you find yourself rooting for him the entire time.
Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa, and Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks all have Twitter as well and when they tweet back and forth between each other, making fun of one another, it’s pure entertainment behind the scenes conversations that you usually wouldn’t get to experience. That element of social media gives the public more of a three dimensional view into the world of being an athlete, which a lot of us want to be a part of.
So why is the good always overlooked by the bad? Why must we suffer because of those nose picker kids who don’t know any better? There’s bound to be those kinds of people wherever you go. Let’s not let them spoil it for the others.
Hash[Tag] of idiocy
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
Twitter is the bane of intelligence. It provides an outlet for all of those things that are extremely offensive or just exceptionally unimportant. Athletes, in particular, seem to have a penchant for making use of the social media site in such an immature manner, and the sports leagues that these athletes play in should take note.
I can’t remember a time when a player has ever made an overwhelmingly positive tweet—something that makes you just stop and smile. Similarly, no tweet comes to mind that provoked deep philosophical thoughts. Now, while it’s possible I’m just developing Alzheimer’s early, the reason for my inability to recall an intelligent tweet by an athlete is because it simply doesn’t happen. Alright, maybe not never, but a few good ideas in a sea of idiocy generally tend to sink to the bottom without so much as a ripple. It never ceases to amaze me how, especially in a league such as the NFL where every player has a college education, someone can manage to post such incredible drivel. You’d think the supposed media coaching that goes on by sports teams would be more than enough for these guys to figure it out, but apparently not.
No one needs to read, “With so many Africans in Greece..At least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food!!!” Voula Papachristou, a Greek track athlete, made that “joke” about African immigrants shortly before the Olympics. She was later removed from the team. Coming closer to home were the recent tweets by Khalif Mitchell and Nik Lewis that were just as inappropriate. Of course, not all tweets are racist or offensive. Some just exhibit the fact that many athletes simply don’t stop to think about what they’re saying. Case in point, Steve Johnson’s tweet after dropping a pass in overtime that would have won the game: “I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…” Blaming God? Really makes you wonder why so many football players bother to wear helmets.
Leagues need to realize that these tweets hurt their public appearance and, as such, should be stopped. Players represent the leagues they belong to, and if people see poorly thought-out posts by the players, they’ll project that image onto the league. An in-season ban (or even a full ban from Twitter entirely) would be a wise move. The amount of negative publicity that Twitter can create should make this one a no-brainer. The positives are almost non-existent. As noted before, intellectual tweets are a rare thing, and even when one does occur, it almost never makes any noise. Twitter allows players to be entertainers and express their personality, but leagues have to evaluate whether they really want those personalities on display.