Twitter Is Not a Suitable Medium for Trash Talking

Professional football players really seem to love their Twitter, which is usually great for fans and reporters: despite rules preventing them from tweeting during games, tweets from the off the field -- say, during rough preseason practices -- can still provide a picture into their tactics, motivation and morale. But the events surrounding the group humiliation and shaming of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler leave me no choice but to bust out some advice for the footballers: Gentlemen, talking trash on Twitter just makes you look like a bunch of whiny wusses.

For those who don't know, on Sunday Cutler tore his medial collateral knee ligament in an NFC Championship game against Green Bay and had to sit out the second half. While this might sound like sufficient reason to us civilians -- the words "tore" and "knee" should never occur in the same sentence, ever -- Cutler's colleagues in pro football didn't seem to think so. And they let the world know it. On Twitter.

A typical tweet came from Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew: "All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee ... I played the whole season on one." Kerry Rhodes of the Arizona Cardinals was a little nicer, but the pressure was still there: "Cmon cutler u have to come back. This is the NFC championship if u didn't know!" The Cardinals' Darnell Dockett -- who has had some previous Twitter run-ins, chiefly posting pictures of himself in the shower -- returned to the shower theme by suggesting Cutler was so disgraced he shouldn't be allowed in the locker room until his teammates left.

I have no opinion on these opinions, or their medical advisability, as I am neither a professional football player nor a sports physician. However, I do have an opinion on the forum where the football players gave vent to this macho, tough guy discourse: lame, lame, lame! Guys, you are talking about how much pain and injury you can endure on a social media site whose corporate logo is a friendly little bird with big happy cartoon eyes; this is just sad.

It's one thing to give a belligerent TV interview, maybe challenge someone to a fistfight on the air-- but I'm guessing these bitchy little messages were composed hunched over your iPhones or Blackberrys on the couch, big stubby fingers working faster than a teenage girl embroiled in high school drama.

Indeed, it's amusing how much of the trash talk came from guys who are no longer in the game, and who don't seem to realize that this kind of cranky criticism just makes them look old and washed up. Deion Sanders, now an NFL Network analyst, led the charge: "I'm telling u in the playoffs u must drag me off the field. All the medicine in pro lockerooms this dude comes out! I apologize bear fans!" Former Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks opined: "I have to be crawling and can't get up, to come off the field. Meds are available," appending the rather nasty afterthought that "There is no medicine for a guy with no guts and heart." Former Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos guard Mark Schlereth tweeted: "As a guy who had 20 knee surgeries, you'd have to drag me out on a stretcher to leave a championship game."

Oh you mean before, when you still played football?


3 comments about "Twitter Is Not a Suitable Medium for Trash Talking ".
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  1. David Murdico from Supercool Creative, January 25, 2011 at 12:26 a.m.

    That Twitter bird carrying the football needs to be on some team's helmet next fall. Nice post.

  2. Thom Kennon from Free Radicals, January 25, 2011 at 5:37 a.m.

    Sorry - Twitter is like any other comms channel, and brands (like athletes, musicians, politicians and products) can and will use channels for better and worse.

    We don't get to say one channel has reserved a purity greater than any other. Your point may have been that their personal brands - and the brands of their teams and leagues - are more quickly diminished by ill-use of one channel or another.

    But it's the content, not the channel, that throws the flag on itself when stoopid violations occur.

    @tkennon |

  3. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, January 25, 2011 at 6:51 a.m.

    First, it's not letting Palin use a mild metaphor. Now, it's not letting football greats use Twitter to insult. What's next, no free speech at all? Let people say what they want. Or else someone will cancel all the bloggers, too.

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