Bloodletting in politics is fairly routine...so much so that nobody pays much attention unless the comments are fairly extreme, and social media is pretty much just more of the same. The entertainment world is embroiled in online nonsense as well.
Lately, however, it seems that there are a number of headlines about tweets from sports figures.
Just yesterday came the news of Greek's political unrest seeping its way into the Olympics when triple-jumper Voula Papachristou was withheld from competition after making inappropriate remarks, also via Twitter.
Not to be outdone, today's news is filled with reports of harsh criticism by Team USA star soccer goalie Hope Solo directed at former team member and current commentator Brandi Chastain via wait for it...wait for it...Twitter! Surprise!
While Simmons was doing what commentators typically do—comment—Cuban responded via Twitter as well, and his remarks, along with Papachristou's and Solo's, while very different in nature, indicate a curious trend. We seem to have thrown traditional methods of resolving our differences out the door in favor of airing our dirty laundry.
It has been discussed to death, especially in the short time since Papachristou's remarks, that some of us may forget from time to time that social media immediately puts your thoughts out to the entire world, so you'd better be darn careful what you have to say, as it may surely come back to bite you. With the Greek athlete, the consequences couldn't have been much more severe.
However, there are some who clearly sense that this is an opportunity once reserved for the commentator or the sports figure working through a commentator. While a journalist today may have his thoughts published, that has always been the case, and the only difference is that now it happens faster and travels further.
For sports figures such as Cuban and Solo, there must be quite a sense of empowerment in being able to immediately critique the critique and blast it worldwide with one click.
Maybe that's not so bad...but calling someone out on the carpet before the eyes of billions of people may not be the best way to handle things. Then again, maybe it is.
In the "old" days (LOL), I suppose Mr. Cuban or Ms. Solo might have fired off a terse email to the offending party? Then, perhaps, differences could have been massaged, an understanding reached—we all sing Kumbaya? It seems a lot more likely that athletes will continue to fight when their dignity is on a worldwide stage.
We have all said things we wish we hadn't and unfortunately, on social media, once you've posted it, it's a done deal. As Kenny Wayne Shepherd put it "Wrong can't be undone, slipped from the tip of your tongue." I'm sure he would have added "sent from your computer or smartphone," but that doesn't rhyme.
Twitter provides a great avenue for public figures to stay in touch with their fans. It seems these days, however, that there are more examples than ever of great power bringing great responsibility. In this case, the question of where to determine when discretion is the better part of valor is becoming muddier than ever.
We have yet to hear what Brandi Chastain has to say, and I hope it isn't something that makes us look as if we're more interested in beating each other up than beating the other teams. Chances are the duel will be fought in the arena and not behind closed doors once again.
If nothing else, the ensuing drama provides manifold opportunities for sportswriters to venture off the humdrum daily routine of reporting "just the facts" or even typical opinion and into the glamorous world of "he said she said," and for that, I suppose I should be grateful.
I think I'll be tweeting this article...and "Thanks for the memories."
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