Former Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb is like that crazy ex-girlfriend who’ll never go away.
He’s like the kid who interrupts the spades game at the family reunion just to tell you that he made honor roll in the third marking period.
But during his latest plea for attention last week – a week in which he worked out with the Philadelphia Eagles and appeared in a video telling his doubters that he’ll no longer throw bounce passes like Bob Cousy – McNabb actually had a moment of clarity.
On Thursday, McNabb appeared on ESPN Chicago’s “Waddle and Silvy” radio show and offered the following: ”First of all, I’m not a fan of tweeting; I’m not a fan of Twitter. Nothing against their program or what they have, but as an athlete I think you need to get off of Twitter.”
In response to players who criticize their fellow athletes on the social networking site, McNabb said: ”I don’t believe that that’s the right deal… So I think for an athlete to be twittering is the wrong move. It’s one that leads to the fans and let them comment on certain things, but athletes need to get off Twitter.”
He’s absolutely right.
For most athletes, Twitter is a no-win situation.
Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Chris Douglas-Roberts (@cdouglasroberts) gains nothing by telling his followers about the linen shorts that he wears while relaxing on the Cayman Islands (shorts that happen to be embroidered with the self-granted nickname “Flyonel Ritchie”). Sixers’ center Marreese Speights won’t gain any fans with his jokes about overweight women who frequent IHOP, nor with his repeated pleas of “Free Lil’ Boosie.”
No one will deny that the service gives athletes an unprecedented way to reach out to their fans. Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) is only a laptop or a cell phone away from connecting with his 770,000-plus followers, whether it is to ask them for advice, or to promote one of his off-court initiatives.
The flip side is that Twitter also allows fans to communicate directly with their favorite (or not-so-favorite) players like never before. Previously, if someone wanted to rip an athlete, they would have to either call their local sports talk radio station, scream unpleasantries from their seat at the game, or sit down and compose a letter which wouldn’t likely be read.
Now, fans can tag their player of choice and fire off 140 characters of vitriol, a rant almost guaranteed to be viewed by its intended target the next time he (or she) logs into the social networking site.
New York Mets’ catcher Josh Thole (@josh_thole) shut down his Twitter account in May (calling it a “lose-lose situation”) after he was hammered with criticism during a hitting slump. Sixers’ swingman Andre Iguodala closed his account (@AI9) early last season – either he didn’t see the value in having it, or he wasn’t able to withstand the heat from Sixers’ fans that undoubtedly ripped him during the team’s 3-13 start.
It’s not all one-sided, however. Athletes have been known to start the fire themselves. The NFL lockout probably saved Steelers’ RB Rashard Mendenhall (@R_Mendenhall) from a suspension after his Osama bin Laden-related Twitter screed. LeBron James (@KingJames) caught heat for his infamous “Karma is a b****” tweet, and then was utterly destroyed after posting “Now or Never” prior to Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and then going out and scoring as many points that night as J.J. Barea.
For those in the public eye, social media can potentially be very dangerous, as former House Rep. Anthony Weiner (@RepWeiner) can personally attest to. But when understood and used correctly, it can also be a perfect way to engage with tens of thousands of people easily and effectively. In the sports world, however, we’ve seen far too many cases where athletes would have been better off if there was some sort of filter between them and their followers.
So while it may pain some Eagles fans to agree with him, McNabb is probably right. Unfortunately, the majority of players will likely dismiss his advice and continue posting as they always have. Hopefully, unlike former Rep. Weiner, they don’t get caught with their pants down.Source: warroomsports.com