The strangeness of Twitter is that there are so many people who will never learn from those who have made missteps on the medium before them. Athletes continue to use Twitter to connect with fans and let out their feelings, but so many of them still bring unnecessary attention to themselves or their teams, stir up controversy, and simply write dumb things. Here are the latest in the sad, continuing saga of unwise athlete tweets.
1. Serena Williams: A couple days after her ugly, absurd outburst during the finals of the United States Open, Serena Williams, a tennis pro with whom diva-like acts are not uncommon, took to Twitter to issue a non-apology apology.
“My emotions did get the best of me this past weekend when I disagreed with the umpire,” Williams tweeted Wednesday. “It has been a long road to get back to the US Open this year, and I am thankful to have had such a great two weeks in New York.”
She is right that emotions did get the best of her, but her suggestion that she disagreed with the umpire is incredibly disingenuous. Is she referring to the call the umpire made, or that Williams thought she was another umpire from the past that has ruled against her? Or perhaps Williams is referring to her belief that the umpire is an ugly person inside, and the umpire disagreeing. This is not an apology, and a rather poor attempt at feigning one.
2. Chris Johnson: During the all-star running back’s contract hold-out, he received some criticism from fans about the fact he wanted more and was not practicing with the team following the lockout.
“Can these fake Titan fans STFU on my timeline I don’t have a regular job so don’t compare me to you and I can care less if uthink I’m greedy,” Johnson tweeted. He followed up that scornful message with one of equal derision. “If you was a real fan my tweet would not bother you it only make the fake fans upset”
There may be a point in his poorly worded, grammar-lacking impersonal tweets, but he is not the person to be mediating the discussion, nor should Twitter be the medium. Johnson got his contract, and in his first game back, he had all of 25 yards on nine carries in a loss. No great player can be great all the time, but humility and understanding will help fans stay on your side.
3. Arian Foster: This is a very similar to the Johnson incident, in that it deals with a big name running back calling out fans. While dealing with a hamstring injury, Foster tweeted, “4 those sincerely concerned, I’m doing ok & plan 2 B back by opening day. 4 those worried abt your fantasy team, u ppl are sick.”
Once again, it is never wise to criticize fans, even though Foster is making a fair point. It is not up to him to initiate such a discussion, and it does him no good sending out such a tweet. The NFL is the most popular and successful league in North America, and much of its current success is in part to the prevalence of fantasy football. The tweet doesn’t necessarily hurt Foster much, but once again it attracts unnecessary attention and reinforces the image of the smug and unintelligent athlete, one that fans just want to see play, and not talk.
4. Nathan Eccleston: If for some reason it wasn’t obvious to athletes already, months ago Rashard Mendenhall illustrated just why players shouldn’t discuss politics and terrorism, especially a topic so emotional and important as September 11th. The running back
offered his minority opinion, and received much disgust because of his comments. Now Liverpool striker Nathan Eccleston has offered his thoughts on the infamous with Twitter. “I aint going to say attack don’t let the media make u believe that was terrorist that did it”
This another equally dubious comment have been removed, but Liverpool is now investigating the matter, saying they take this incident very seriously and will take appropriate action. Just as with the Mendenhall case, athletes certainly have freedom of speech, but they do not have freedom of consequence.