LeBron James. Shaquille O’Neal. Paul Pierce. Chad Ochocinco. What do all of these professional athletes have in common besides their millionaire status? They each have a Twitter account. Not only that, but each player has had more than one tweet analyzed, scrutinized, and criticized by media and millions of fans. Some of the criticism is a little unfair and typical of the kind of bashing that high-profile personalities are subject to in our armchair-quarterback world.
But sometimes the flack is warranted. It seems as though some athletes have a lot to say about certain things, but when the funk hits the proverbial fan, the tweets magically disappear or the player backtracks from the statements he or she initially posted.
Case in point #1: LeBron James’ tweet after the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-57 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron tweeted shortly after the game: “Crazy. Karma is a B****. Gets you every time. It’s not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!”
After Twitter saw the tweet and ran with it, LeBron later backed away from the statement, ultimately saying someone else posted that on his account.
Case #2, and probably, happened between Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie had some choice commentary about the looming lockout in the NFL, as the league and the NFL Players Association try to write a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), tweeting that the union leadership are “acting like a a–hole.” Hasselbeck responded saying, “Somebody ask Cromartie if he knows what CBA stands for.” Almost immediately, Hasselbeck deleted the post. Cromartie, clearly offended by the disrespect, shot back: “Hey Matt if u have something to [say] then say it be a man about it. Don’t erase it. I will smash ur face in.” That clearly didn’t go as Mr. Hasselbeck had planned, and he later responded, “Sorry for the joke man. No hard feelings. DB’s & QB’s have a hard time getting along I guess sometimes. Lol.”
So what have we learned? That apparently it’s okay to talk trash over social media, as long as you recant your statements shortly thereafter. Or even act like you never said what your account read at all.
There are so many things that are beautiful about a social media tool such as Twitter. It is probably the fastest, most effective way to network. You can forge strong friendships with your followers. But there are also very negative aspects about it as well. There is a lot of ignorance, nudity, malicious talk, gossip, profanity, and countless other problems scrolling up and down the text. Yes, the same can be said about any form of social media. But Twitter is special because of its conciseness and the people that are a part of it. What other website allows you to watch the stream-of-consciousness musings of your favorite celebrity/athlete/politician in real time?
It is a shame that pro athletes have everything they say looked at every which way. But that makes it all the more important for them to watch what they say. Yes, it’s unfortunate that virtually anything you say can be misconstrued by anyone at any given time. But these high-profile personalities have to realize that it is just the way things are. Those 140 characters will be seen by someone, guaranteed. And, frankly, it’s the same for individuals who are not in the spotlight.
The Bible says we are accountable for the things that come out of our mouths. But unlike Twitter, we can’t just delete what we say. God holds us to the highest standards for our speech and conduct.
So, yeah, those celebrities should think twice about what they’re saying on Twitter. But so should we.
It’s easy to attack someone or make big-and-bad pronouncements behind the artificial face of social media. Just know that more people are watching than you think, and it’s better to delete the nasty thoughts from our hearts as soon as they pop up than to scramble to take them down from our Twitter pages later on.