Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Be Careful What You Say

Read in the Dispatch this morning that freshman backup quarterback Cardale Jones was suspended for the Nebraska game for sending out a stupid/silly message tweet. On Friday, being the sometimes funny young man that he is, Cardale questioned why college football players had to go to classes when they were there to play football.

Knowing Cardale a little bit, he was probably trying to be "cute." First met Cardale when he quarterbacking at Cleveland Glenville. Always thought he had potential, but was not always coachable, and he listened to too many "experts" in the recruiting world.  However, he is just a young man entering the real world of college football. Cardale is just one of many that I deal with from time to  time. And like  grown men playing a sport and saying or tweeting something to be "cute," he has apologized to Coach Meyer. Cardale Jones is a good young man. When we see each other, we always chat a few minutes.

This is not about Cardale Jones and being silly. Not about the discipline of Coach Urban Meyer. Not about crackin on Jones for using twitter. Anytime an athlete wants to get some attention, he or she goes to their Twitter account and vents. Of course, when he or she is confronted, they will say that they acted out of frustration, and then apologize and everything is forgiven. This article is about using good judgment as an athlete.

I have unfriended prospects on facebook, because of the slang and because of some of the "stupid," not "silly" comments being made. Trust me, I am not "Clean Gene," by any stretch of the imagination. But I want to remind athletes that they must be aware that anything that they say can be put into any form of print, and be almost guaranteed that comment will be out there. Cell phone photos are so easy to use that even my 86 year old mother can take a pic with a cell phone.. Sad, but anytime an athlete is in public, he or she is fair game, regardless of the name.

Media people need content. Whether a beat reporter, a flat screen personality, internet person, or a sports talk host. Everybody is looking the "story." Better yet, these same people want to be the ones to break the "story." It is their job and, sometimes, that means"take no prisoners." Because an athlete is trying to be "cute," a comment on twitter, or facebook, or a picture, can turn that "cute" into "ugly." Nobody really wants that.

A picture or quote can appear anywhere. Everybody knows that. But, when the chance to be "cute," or as Coach Meyer used the word, "ignorant," an athlete really has to use good judgment. The consequences are not worth the bad choice. Plus, good or bad, public perception can be a very narrow, one way street. I always told my own three adult kids when they were in college, " be careful with the internet or cell phone, you will have to get a job someday."

Being an old 64 run teacher/coach, most of the young readers will smile and think that the old guy has to get in the modern world. But, "common sense" has been around for many years. It never goes away. Put our pride and ego aside, and use some common sense. Sometimes it can make all of the difference in making a choice.

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