July 28, 2013
It’s no secret times have changed as we have grown up over the years. One of the biggest changes we’ve seen is the evolution of social media. Obviously, Facebook and Google+, among others, continue to be big players in the social media landscape, but it seems Twitter is the way to go if a person wants instant responses to his or her comments. Yes, this is a good tool when it comes to players of professional sports teams interacting with the fans. Of course, as is the case with everything these days, there are two sides of the coin, and when that player says things that are considered questionable, it opens them up for criticism. Such is the case with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. When Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and friend Ryan Braun got a 50-game suspension overturned due to a technicality, Rodgers was quickly on the offensive in support of Braun. When a fan, Todd Sutton, called Rodgers delusional for supporting Braun, the QB said he would bet his salary for the next season Braun wasn’t taking performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). The tweet seemed innocent at the time, but now that Braun was recently suspended for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy, it’s not so innocent. The Twitter verse never forgets, and once you press send, it’s out there for the world to see. The public outcry is calling for Rodgers to pay up to Sutton, which would be $4.5 million. I understand it might not have been a formal bet where an agreement was reached, but a person should be held accountable for his or her words. If Rodgers is going to say things like that, then things shouldn’t change because of who he is. This is why some things are better off not being said. Another case was when the verdict of the Trayvon Martin case was read and George Zimmerman was found not guilty. A couple of NFL players, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White and New York Giants WR Victor Cruz, took to Twitter to express their frustrations over the verdict. White said the jurors in the case should “kill themselves” for the verdict they reached, and Cruz basically said Zimmerman doesn’t have long to live. One could understand where comments like these would cause an uproar with the public. White and Cruz aren’t the only ones who are angry with the verdict. I would even go as far to say the feelings expressed in their tweets are the same as a lot of people’s. It’s just because of the fact they’re NFL stars, what they say will get all of the publicity. White and Cruz has since apologized for those tweets. Social media is overall a great concept. It can be used as a great marketing and advertising tool for things such as businesses. It’s also good for people who haven’t talked to one another in a while to reconnect. Unfortunately, social media, and Twitter in particular, can also be used for people who should probably keep their mouths shut to sound off. If that person is a celebrity, they should understand what comes with the territory of being who they are. Whatever they say or do is in the public eye, fairly or unfairly. Some people would say it’s good to hear celebrities speak out on Twitter because it shows they’re tuned in to what’s going on around them and not just stuck on themselves, and that may be true. At the same token, they can’t get upset when people don’t respond the way they would want. Just because they’re stars doesn’t mean they’re right all the time. It’s a judgment call on how a person wants to express themselves. It’s also up to that individual how they want to deal with the backlash from what they say. In today’s world, it’s hard to be discrete because someone is always watching what’s being said or done, but it doesn’t mean they control a person’s social media account. One thing is key to remember. If you have the urge to say something, just make sure it’s well thought out, because there’s no going back once you press send. After that, it’s time to deal with whatever backlash comes. If they don’t want to hear what the public thinks, then maybe it’s time to shut down those Twitter accounts.
By Charles Taylor