Thursday, July 19, 2018
Sports

Dear sports figures: Please think before you tweet

Peyton Manning walked off into the sunset Monday without getting burned. That is, until DeAngelo Williams called "Omaha," audibilizing out of all the syrupy praise being poured on the quarterback.

Tweeted Williams, the Pittsburgh Steelers running back: Look Peyton is a hall of fame qb who couldn't play dead in a western last year.

In case we all forgot, Williams went on to remind us that Manning stunk last season. In fact, at the tail end of a tweet exchange with CBSSports.com, he added an emoji of dog poop next to a figure with a surgical mask covering its face.

I admit that "couldn't play dead in a Western" is a pretty good line, but it was classless and unnecessary for Williams to criticize Manning on the day he announced his retirement.

It's just another example of how dangerous Twitter can be when an athlete has idle time, a bad idea and a keyboard in his or her hands.

The sports world's new slogan (please):

Social media: Think responsibly.

Every 45 seconds somebody says something dumb in 140 characters or less. Okay, I don't really know if it's 45 seconds. It's just a guess; it could take far less time.

The pros, colleges and even high schools now take steps to try to rein in the social-media monster.

Back in the day, your sports heroes had to go through the regular media to get their stupidity into print or on the airwaves. Now there's no filter. And it's immediate.

Twitter and Instagram and the like aren't going away. And the next train wreck of a tweet is just around the corner, although some fool will have to go a long way to top former Steeler Rashard Mendenhall's 2011 comment after U.S. troops killed Osama bin Laden: What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never heard speak. We've only heard one side.

Mendenhall also might have posted the No. 2 worst tweet of all-time when he called the NFL "modern-day slavery."

There are consequences for what you write, something good journalists always have known. Gilbert Arenas already was in hot water after he brought four guns into the Washington Wizards lockeroom. He then tweeted: i wake up this morning and see i was the new JOHN WAYNE..lmao media is too funny. It wasn't too funny when the NBA suspended him.

It always helps if the tweeter is informed or uses the forum to enlighten. After watching Manning and Denver win the Super Bowl, Golden State center Festus Ezeli typed, "Happy for Eli Manning." Dwight Howard once tweeted about the problems he was having with gas — and not the kind you put in your car. But social media can also be an outlet for sensitive, serious discourse when handled correctly and thoughtfully.

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, Brandon Marshall, the New York Jets receiver who then was with the Chicago Bears and has battled mental illness, wrote, It hurts to hear about today's shootings. With what's been going on, is it now ok to talk about Mental Health?

Just last week LeBron James sent out cryptic tweets to his 28 million followers to perhaps motivate teammates.

Channeling his inner John Nash with a tweet such as "consistency and structure breeds perfection," James said, I got a beautiful mind, and I want to use it sometimes in a social manner.

He also might be putting us on, saying more "Da Vinci Code" tweets are to come.

As for Williams, he said he stood by his tweets criticizing Peyton Manning's 2015 season, even as his coach, Mike Tomlin, counter-tweeted Tuesday: DWill (@DeAngeloRB) quit while you are behind! #Really.

"If I tweeted it and I said it, I am not apologizing for it," Williams told ESPN.

I mean, who does he think he is tweeting whatever he wants? A presidential candidate?

— Orlando Sentinel (TNS)

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