As in virtually every other sector of society, social media significantly adds to the experience of watching sports – allowing people to share their thoughts with circles of friends or strangers, receive news and information unfiltered by traditional media, and even engage directly with their favorite players.
It’s this last one where things can get dicey.
Jared Sullinger, who uses Twitter better than perhaps any college athlete today, announced a couple of nights ago that he was taking a vacation from social media – apparently fed up with the Buckeye fans who were displeased with him after the Illinois loss.
Here are some, which are tame compared to those directed at Indiana players below:
Yes, that’s what it looked like. Brandon Paul played the best Big Ten game in recent memory to just nip the Buckeyes in Champaign. They just gave up.
Sullinger, remember, is a college student and player, albeit a very good one, putting up with this. (I didn’t include some of the more profane Tweets sent his way – nor the ones from Illinois fans.)
It’s not just Ohio State, of course.
For example, this charming woman had very cross words for Indiana players after the Hoosiers lost to Minnesota to fall to 15-2. That’s right, 15-2 and this is how she reacts:
Audrey should be embarrassed by her Tweets.
Or this cheerful fellow:
Or this guy:
It’s useful to note that a majority of Tweets directed at Christian Watford, Jared Sullinger and others after losses are positive and urge them to look ahead to the next game.
But others? The crazy and unhinged are the ones that define Twitter for recipients. This is why we can’t have nice things.
It’s one thing to comment on play, such as “Player X is not taking good shots” or even more critical. But to make it personal? And directed at them for the world to see?
Classless – and, as @SpartyBasketbal noted on Twitter, this is the very reason coaches are well within their rights to ban their players from Twitter during the season. It can’t help but get to them.