OU football: Words can hit like an iron fist, hurtful in person and on Twitter

Not to pick on two-thirds of the Cali Trio, but Tony Jefferson and Kenny Stills didn't grade out well on their Twitter usage last week.
BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, thaney@opubco.com Modified: December 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm •  Published: December 11, 2011

NORMAN – There's nothing wrong with Twitter. There's nothing wrong with Oklahoma's football players being on Twitter.

But that doesn't mean some Sooners shouldn't think before tweeting. A little filter would go a long way for some players who feel the need to share anything and everything, without considering the effects of what's being said.

Not to pick on two-thirds of the Cali Trio, but Tony Jefferson and Kenny Stills didn't grade out well on their Twitter usage last week.

Jefferson knocked the bowl opponent and wondered aloud why he wasn't on the coaches' All-Big 12 team. Stills voiced displeasure about practices and the Insight Bowl, itself.

Both then got into a handful of Twitter slapfights with OU fans who were irked by the comments.

Twitter, and social media, is a beautiful thing for connecting with people. It can be used to a person's advantage in so many ways. But it can also be damaging if abused or used too haphazardly.

If I tweeted disparaging or sarcastic things about other newspapers and their writers, surely there would be consequences – either with my employer, or with them directly. What good comes from saying those things? “Dang…Iowa.” What good comes from that?

Even if it wasn't intended to be a slam, really, that's how it's going to be taken. That must be considered before type-click-publish in 0.2 seconds.

Because you can get yourself into hot water just that fast. Ask Jaz Reynolds. Back on Twitter this season, he seemed to have gotten the message after a rather sensational comment about Texas caused a suspension a year ago.

The point is, we are held responsible and accountable for our words and actions, even in social mediums. That's the world in which we live.

The issue for college athletes, Sooners included, is young people are being asked to understand and stay within boundaries that are not clearly defined – but they're there.

Too often, I feel, these Sooners think they're reality TV stars and not football players. They think everyone is watching the show, when they're on or off the field. In that sense, maybe Brody Eldridge was correct in noting – on Twitter, no less – a shift in the program's attitude. Maybe it doesn't shift back, either. Maybe it just must be managed and massaged.

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