It is not just that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are fierce rivals. It is not just that both teams are always perennially competing for the division title in the AFC North. It is that both teams will take any and every opportunity to stir the pot of drama and trash talk whenever the opportunity and the latest one came in the virtual world of Twitter.
The most recent feud has some of the familiar faces usually involved in off the field dialogues, but the arena has changed with the times. It was prompted by the arrest of Steelers veteran wide receiver Hines Ward, a talented, respected, and ever-smiling feature of the Pittsburgh offense. Ward was behind the wheel early in the morning in Georgia when he was pulled over, arrested, and charged with drunken driving.
Naturally, this was fodder for the Ravens, especially against one of the faces of the Steelers franchise. Running back Ray Rice began the exchanges: “Well it looks like Hines Ward will miss week 1 when the lockout ends DUI charge not a good look.”
The rebuttal from Steelers’ safety Ryan Clark: “So glad you could Weigh in. Thx.”
Rice: “it’s whatever u wanna do bro you know how to find me.”
Clark countered, saying that he will find in on the field, as the two will face off when the Steelers defense plays against the Ravens offense.
Rice responded again, “I hear ya brother.Thought we were all better than that. Wouldnt speak negative of you. I’ll find you!It’s not hard. God bless.”
The tweet-a-tweet, as it were, concluded there, but Clark did make a statement about his teammate in response to a fan. “I support Hines to the fullest. I believe his name will be cleared in the end. A great player and better man!”
Hines’ agent disputes that his client was impaired by alcohol at the time of the incident; that will be determined in time, as will any potential punishment once the league returns from the lockout. If he was in fact driving under the influence, it will be both shocking and saddening, as he has been an exemplary player both on and off the field. It should also be noted that Rice is a part of a campaign against drunken driver; his cousin was killed by a drunken driver in 1998.
That somber news aside, a Twitter war of words can be fun, as demonstrated by Rice and Clark. Too often professional athletes go to twitter to criticize fans, officials, or anything at all generic and random with the world. Rice and Clark may not be engaging in the wittiest or harsh Twitter war, but it is certainly entertaining and within the boundaries of sports and gamesmanship.
The two teams have been and will continue to be fierce rivals, and while they don’t need Twitter to feed the flames, it’s enjoyable to watch it unfold in a different format. No longer do they need journalists to print words and report back to other players with comments. Athletes can talk directly to one another, or rather as direct as Twitter can be.
When and if the lockout ends, and when and if the season starts on time, the Baltimore Ravens will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, September 11.