Over the last year or so, I have become quite fond of ESPN First Take. While there are times I wish I could get a seat across the table from Skip Bayless to argue him, I can’t help but agree with a large portion of his statements. Today I was intrigued with a topic of discussion on the show regarding athletes using Twitter. The discussion was sparked after Jay Cutler sat on the sidelines Sunday with a “hurt” knee during the NFC Championship game. One of the most talked about comments came from Jaguars running back, Maurice Jones Drew who tweeted during the game, “Hey I think the Urban Meyer rule is in effect right now… When the going gets tough… QUIT…” This comment, along with others, started all sorts of debates on ESPN, including First Take, where they not only discussed whether or not these comments were fair, but also if Twitter is a good thing for sports.
First and foremost, if you’ve watched First Take over the last few weeks, you know that Skip has a bit of a man crush on Jay Cutler. Most of the sports nation came down on Cutler for his actions on Sunday, so leave it to Skip to come to his rescue. Now I have to admit, I actually disagree with all of the criticism Cutler got. Not because I think he deserves it, because I don’t, but simply because you just don’t know. Cutler hasn’t proven anything to us except for the fact that he makes a lot of bad decisions, but I don’t agree with questioning a players heart or commitment to his team. There really was no telling what kind of injury he was dealing with and everyone making these comments was on their couch watching from home. With that being said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and if players think they would have played through the pain, then it’s their right to think that way. I agree 100% with Sage here and think that fans love to hear what athletes have to say, good or bad, and should be allowed to voice their opinions no matter what.
When debating if social media is good or bad for the NFL, I think you would have to be insane to think it’s anything less than great, for all the reasons stated in the video and more. Twitter and other forms of social media have become an important part of teams and their players, along with playing an integral part in marketing strategies and tactics. Looking specifically at generating new fans and also retaining existing fans. People want to know what athletes are doing and what they think about certain things. You can’t allow a couple of dumb tweets negate all the positive influences social media has had on the sports industry.
Mike and Mike also made a great point this morning about all this twitter chatter, stating that it’s something everyone needs to just deal with. Instant media, blogging and real-time commentary is not going away, so whether you like it or not, you need to learn to accept it. This is the world we live in and everyone’s opinions are always going to be available instantaneously. As I said before, fans want information immediately and they want the raw emotion of players as things are happening. Sometimes players hit the send button too soon, but that doesn’t change the fact that fans and spectators want that.
It’s incredible to think how the sports world works these days. I hear the words Twitter and blogging in almost every sports conversation on ESPN now and even during sporting events. It has become such a huge aspect of the industry and just like Mike and Mike said, get used to it because it’s not going anywhere!
I’d really love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Were these comments about Cutler “out of line?” Is social media bad for sports? Let me know what you think.