Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Dan Ellis tells other athletes on Twitter: keep it boring
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis said he was very disappointed he had to make the decision to shut down his Twitter account after a severe backlash from several tweets he made on Monday.
"Just the fact this whole thing can be something that could be a distraction for the team," Ellis said after Thursday's skate at the Ice Sports Forum. "This is my new squad. These are the guys I want to play for and the last thing I want to do is bring any negative attention to this place. It’s a world-class organization and we’re going to keep it that way."
Here is what Ellis said about the episode which began with him bemoaning the 24 percent pay cut NHL players accepted after the 2004-05 lockout. Ellis was responding to a tweet from the NFL's Reggie Bush about the 18 percent pay cut owners hope the players will accept in their new collective bargaining agreement.
Ellis also said he is more worried about money now than when he was in college. The cyberspace reaction, given Ellis has a two-year, $3 million contract, was swift and sometimes vicious, prompting Ellis to first apologize and then discontinue his Twitter account. Here is what he said on Wednesday.
On how the controversy began: "I was just simply making a remark about the NFL, CBA dispute. I didn’t mean to offend anyone of different financial brackets. It was unfortunate that people took it the wrong way and took it out of context and made it into something really big which was never intended. ... I really don’t think that my opinion is very valid in any financial thing. I’m a basic hockey player. If you put a lot into what I have to say, I’m really not that qualified, so don’t worry about it too much."
On shutting down his account: "It’s unfortunate because Twitter is a great way for fans to get to know people, and Twitter is a way to show a personal side, to show something that isn’t in your regular newspaper. It’s everyday life. I know many times last year with Nashville I would show what people what it was like on the road; the type of hotels we stay in and the way the team takes care of us and what some of the other guys like to do. Unfortunately, something like this ruins something like that for the fans. For myself, growing up, I would have loved to see the inside of a professional hockey player or a musician or anything like that. When you’re young you want to know what real life is like and it’s not always portrayed in regular media that sometimes covers more the scores and who got penalties and stuff like that. It’s a great way in, but unfortunately a few people had to ruin it."
On going back to Twitter at some point: "I don’t really know. It was a pretty sour event. I am a good person and quite honestly it was quite hurtful the things that happened there and a lot of the things that were said. For me, I’ve seen a lot of negative things from that media source. I’ll probably avoid it for the most part for quite some time."
On his disappointment: "Very much so. I really enjoyed it. I had a lot of great fans and followers that followed me along in that and were very supportive. Some came up with questions. I tried to answer them, and there were children of all ages and all across the country. It is too bad because I really enjoyed those people. I just have to find another way to reach out to them."
On advice to other athletes on Twitter: "Just keep it basic, keep it boring. Anything other than that can stir things up. If it’s something that’s going to cause your team and your organization negative attention, stay away from it. After my experiences I don’t see any benefits to it unless you’re doing it in a charity way or a promotional way to help people out. As a player there’s too much stuff that can happen. It opens up a can of worms that just isn’t safe in any way."