The Athlete's Guide to Not Sucking at Twitter

Jessica Marie@ItsMsJisnerCorrespondent IIApril 16, 2013

The Athlete's Guide to Not Sucking at Twitter

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    Twitter. It has changed the relationships we have with our favorite athletes. In some cases, it has given us relationships with those athletes that never would have existed otherwise. 

    With what other platform would grown men be able to air out their man-crushes on wide receivers and point guards? How else would girls get a chance to tell one of the most famous athletes in the world that they want to mother his children? 

    Unfortunately, Twitter also gives athletes a platform to share their innermost thoughts—and many of those athletes don't quite know how to use it. Giving impulsive people an easy way to share their quick and dirty thoughts with the entire universe is a recipe for disaster, right? 


    Some athletes are great at using Twitter to build their brands and fanbases. Then, there are the others. Let's take a look at everything they do wrong. 

20. Don't Blame the Food for the Fact That You Can't Win a Super Bowl

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    Chances are if your team isn't advancing to the biggest game of them all, it's because that team isn't any good. 

    It's definitely not because the training-camp food isn't. 

    So when Antonio Cromartie—then a San Diego Charger—tried to blame the team fare for the fact that a Super Bowl berth seemed a long way off, everyone assumed he had to be joking. 

    Unfortunately, he wasn't. 

    Cromartie wrote, in July 2009, "Man we have 2 have the most nasty food of any team. Damn can we upgrade 4 str8 years the same ish maybe that’s y we can’t we the SB we need."

    The Chargers responded by fining Cromartie for his inappropriate and ridiculous tweet, and to nobody's surprise, he became a Jet the next season. 

    The food must be pretty bad there, too. 

19. Don't Tweet at Halftime of Close Games

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    If your team is in the midst of a nail-biter that actually means something, you at least have to offer the illusion that you're more invested in what's happening on the court than in what's happening in the Twitterverse. 

    In 2009, then-Buck Charlie Villanueva was busted tweeting at halftime during a tie game against the Celtics, when Milwaukee was desperately trying to snag a playoff spot. He wrote, "In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We're playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up."

    The good news: At least Villanueva's intentions were good. All he wrote was that he wanted to impress his coach, and he did, finishing the game with a team-leading 19 points. 

    The bad news: He proved explicitly that his head wasn't where it needed to be at halftime of a crucial contest. 

    Villanueva was scolded by coach Scott Skiles and was forbidden from tweeting mid-game ever again.

18. Don't Use Twitter to Pick Fights with Fans

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    Most athletes know it already, but it's still important to reiterate: Many of them would be nowhere without the fans. 

    The fans give them a market. The fans keep the seats filled and buy the products they endorse. The fans put the checks in their favorite athletes' pockets. 

    Yeah, sometimes fans do things that aren't so classy, but still. Picking fights with them via Twitter is an across-the-board no-no, of which the Eagles' Jason Babin was apparently unaware last season.

    It's a given that Eagles fans are going to say and do inappropriate things. Everyone knows it. Why Babin took such offense to it is still unknown, but he didn't make things any easier on himself when he tweeted

    LOYALTY: loy·al·ty: noun, plural loy·al·ties: The state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations ... There are 17 teams with the same record or worse than us. Thanks for being loyal fans.......We'll get it right.

    As the age-old saying goes, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. 

17. Don't Use It to Express Your Feelings That Classes Are Stupid

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    The debate about whether college athletes should be paid like professionals—because in some cases, they basically function as such—is a debate that is not going to end anytime soon. 

    But it's kind of a given that even if student-athletes don't go to class, they're supposed to just pretend they do, anyway. 

    Not only did Ohio State third-string quarterback Cardale Jones never get the memo, but he actually had the audacity to tweet his true feelings about a college education last fall (via retweet): 

    Well..RT @cordale10 Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain't come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS

    — Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) October 5, 2012

    Generally, when you're the third-stringer, the idea is to stay under the radar unless you're on the football field. You're certainly not supposed to make a name for yourself by insisting that educations are stupid.

16. Don't Use It to Express Your Homophobia (and Lack of Taste in TV)

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    The sports universe isn't exactly the most PC place in the world. It seems like every other week, someone from some network is getting suspended for saying something offensive. 

    But that doesn't mean it's OK for players to use their Twitter accounts to promote a homophobic agenda. 

    The Eagles seemingly have quite a talent for getting themselves into hot water via Twitter, and offensive lineman Todd Herremans is no exception. A few years ago, Herremans finally caught up on the HBO hit series True Blood, and though he found it enjoyable at first, he wondered why the producers had tricked him into liking something so "homosexual":

    So.. caught up on Trueblood las nite.. Not a fan of how they get u hooked with the 1st 2 seasons then bring on a barrage of homosexuality..

    Needless to say, nobody within the Eagles organization—or anywhere else in the world—was a fan of his blatant prejudice, and thus, he was quick to apologize

15. Don't Tweet to Incite Your Fans into a Frenzy

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    When Dahntay Jones awkwardly landed on Kobe Bryant's ankle in March, unintentionally gifting the Lakers superstar with a severely sprained ankle, Bryant was understandably unhappy. 

    The Lakers were terrible, and he was virtually their only hope for a playoff berth. Missing time due to an easily avoidable injury was not in the cards. 

    But Kobe is an adult. He's been around the block a few times. He knows that sometimes, you just have to keep your mouth shut and let things go. 

    So why he used his postgame commentary and tweeting to incite the fury of his fanbase is still an unknown phenomenon. After speaking to reporters about his desire for "revenge" against Jones—for a mishap that was clearly unintentional—Bryant tweeted:

    #dangerousplay that should have been called. Period.

    — Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 14, 2013

    That was all the ammunition his fans needed to launch an unheralded Twitter attack against Jones. 

    Come on, Kobe. You're better than that. 

14. Don't Use the R-Word

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    The fact that you're never supposed to casually drop the word "retard" is pretty much a known fact these days. 

    It's bad enough when you say it aloud. But when you write it on Twitter, so that the evidence of your ignorance lasts forever? Yikes. 

    Losing is rough. Losing during the Olympics, on the world's biggest stage, is even rougher. But still, losing during the Olympics is still no reason to call your opponents "retards," as Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella learned upon his team's 2-1 loss to South Korea in London. 

    Post-match, Morganella wrote, "Je les tous Defonce Coréens, allez vous tous Bruler, bande de trisos,"--which, according to, roughly translates to, "I want to beat up all South Koreans! Bunch of mentally handicapped retards!"

    Unsurprisingly, Morganella was kicked off the team and sent home

13. Don't Post Pictures of Dog Biscuits If You've Been Jailed for Dog-Fighting

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    Michael Vick was finally at the point where he was moving on from his past. He was finally at the point where fans were starting to appreciate him once again, and they were finally starting to think that he had learned his lesson and moved on with his life. 

    But then, he tweeted the above photo, which, via USA Today, clearly depicts a box of dog treats. 

    There's no reason to have dog treats unless you have a dog. 

    This is a problem for several reasons. The first is that Vick, per his probation, is forbidden from owning a dog, considering he was convicted on federal dog-fighting charges.

    The second is that when you've been locked up for the mistreatment of animals, nobody wants to see that you have adopted an animal upon your release from prison. 

    At the very least, Vick, when you're trying to violate the terms of your probation, be smarter about the pictures you're posting. 

12. If No One Likes You, Don't Accuse Another Player of Giving You Tetanus

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    Nobody likes Kris Humphries. The fact that he even has nearly 900,000 followers is flabbergasting to me, but I have to assume they follow him for the same reason I follow Amanda Bynes: for the entertainment value. 

    But even as entertaining as it was, when Humphries accused Rajon Rondo of giving him tetanus last year, nobody was laughing with Humphries. They were laughing at him because he's a d-bag. 

    In the midst of a heated game last December, members of the Nets and Celtics—namely, Humphries and Boston's Rajon Rondo—engaged in an on-court brawl that left Humphries with several minor scratches on his shoulder and back. Poor baby. 

    But instead of just letting it be, Humphries took to Twitter after being ejected from the game to post a photo of his "injuries" and to ask:

    Anyone know where I can get a quick Tetanus shot in Boston?

    — Kris Humphries (@KrisHumphries) November 29, 2012

    This would be funny if people actually liked Kris Humphries. Instead, though, it just offers evidence as to why people don't. 

11. Don't Blame God When You Drop a Pass

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    We've seen players thank God when they make a game-saving grab. It is rare, however, that we see players blame God when they drop a pass. 

    Ladies and gentlemen, Steve Johnson.

    There is perhaps nothing more annoying about athletes than when they refuse to take responsibility for messing up. As fans, we understand that everything can't go our way all the time, and we're good about forgiving players for their mistakes.  

    But it's still nice to see them recognize the fact that they have made mistakes. It's not nice when they screw up and then tweet that it's God's fault. 

    A few years ago, Johnson dropped a potentially game-winning catch in the end zone during a matchup against Pittsburgh. Afterward, the wideout tweeted, via the New York Daily News:


    Well, that's a good way to get God on your side. 

10. Don't Make Immigration Jokes

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    Unfortunately, racism seems to permeate the international football world, and in 2011, one player had to pay up for perpetuating it. 

    During a friendly a couple of years ago, England striker Carlton Cole tweeted a few immigration jokes regarding Ghana fans at Wembley Stadium, according to the Daily Mail, and although he later deleted the tweets, the damage was already done. 

    Cole posted, in a series of tweets:

    Immigration has surrounded the wembley premises! I knew it was a trap! Hahahaha ... The only way to get out safely is to wear an england jersey and paint your face w/ the St. George's'flag!

    After he was bombarded with criticism by his own followers, Cole was forced to backtrack—but not before he was fined 20,000 pounds

9. Don't Tweet Homophobic Slurs

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    Larry Johnson took Todd Herremans' remarks and went one step further. He actually broke two cardinal rules of Twitter in one sitting. 

    Not only did the Kansas City Chiefs running back take to the Twitterverse to insult his coach after a particularly bad loss in 2009—he also proceeded to use gay slurs to describe Todd Haley. 

    Among Johnson's tweets that did not include gay slurs were these, according to

    My father got more creditentials than most of these pro coaches. My father played for the coach from "rememeber the titans". Our coach played golf. My father played for redskins briefley. Our coach. Nuthn.

    You can review Johnson's very classy responses to subsequent fan outrage here, but beware of language. 

    Obviously, because of his Twitter meltdown, Johnson was suspended for a game and lost the $213,000 he would have earned had he been on the field. So contrary to Johnson's assessment, it appears we do "stop his checks." 

8. Don't Joke About School Shootings

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    Here is a rule that applies to everyone in the world, no matter who you are, where you live or whether you're an athlete. 

    Don't joke about school shootings. I promise, it will never be funny. 

    Somehow, this was news to Oklahoma wide receiver Jaz Reynolds, who, in 2010, tweeted the following the day after a shooting incident at the University of Texas: "Hey everyone in Austin, tx.......kill yourself #evillaugh". 


    To nobody's surprise, Reynolds was suspended indefinitely following the tasteless tweet, according to AOL News, and Sooners head coach Bob Stoops said in a statement that he was "disappointed" by his player's "callous" remarks. 

7. DeSean Jackson Edition: Don't Tweet Photos of Your Insane Bar Tabs

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    Lots of athletes live large. Lots of them later go bankrupt, but that hasn't yet happened to DeSean Jackson. 

    Still, it's generally a rule that when your personal bar tab exceeds $10,000, you should probably avoid tweeting out an image of the check to the entire world. 

    In June 2011, the Eagles wide receiver was at The Colony in L.A. with a bunch of friends to celebrate the launch of Jaccpot Records. Apparently, Jackson was proud of the fact that in less than 20 minutes, he and his crew managed to rack up a $10,335.82 bar tab—and that wasn't even the end of it. According to The Big Lead, by the end of the night, the bill exceeded $25,000. 

    If you want to spend 25K at a bar, go right ahead. If you even want to take a picture of the tab and text it to your close friends, fine. But don't tweet it to the whole world. It's a great way to look like a giant d-bag. 

6. DeSean Jackson Edition: Don't Tweet Photos of Osama Bin Laden

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    We've already formally established that the Philadelphia Eagles are in dire need of some kind of Twitter training course, but here, we come to one of the worst offenses of them all. 

    Maybe the wide receiver didn't mean to be offensive or controversial when he tweeted a doctored photo of Osama bin Laden shaking hands with Tupac. But then...why tweet a photo of Osama bin Laden shaking hands with Tupac? 

    There are ways to intelligently discuss politics on Twitter, even when your personal opinions are controversial. But this is not one of those ways. This is just asking for attention and using a terrorist's image to do so. 

    In all likelihood, this image had nothing to do with Jackson's own personal politics. In all likelihood, it was just him trying to stir something up. Because non-football-related drama is exactly what the Eagles need.

5. Don't Be Racist

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    Never is there a time when more eyes and ears are trained on athletes than during the Olympics. Therefore, the Olympics are possibly the worst time to make racist jokes on Twitter—not that there's ever a good time for that. 

    It's a sure-fire way to make sure most of the world's population will end up hating you. 

    Just ask Paraskevi Papachristou. The Greek triple jumper took to Twitter in the weeks leading up to the 2012 Games to post this: "With so many Africans in Greece... the West Nile mosquitoes will at least eat homemade food!!!"

    And just like that, Papachristou was banned from the Olympics, as she should have been. The head of the Greek Olympic Mission told The Independent, "She showed no respect for a basic Olympic value and unfortunately, she is out. She made a mistake, and in life we pay for our mistakes."

    Papachristou later apologized, but nobody cared. 

4. Don't Make a Post Comparing a Tough Practice to Rape

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    The biggest problem with Twitter is that it encourages users to ignore their filters. It encourages them to post freely, openly and quickly. 

    But there is a reason we have filters, and there is a reason most of us abide by those filters. 

    Courtney Fortson is one of those people who decided to just go forth and tweet, all common sense be damned. That's how the Arkansas guard ended up posting this after a particularly grueling practice: "Im gettin it at workouts like a dude who doesnt understand the word no from a drunk girl lol."

    Keep in mind that just weeks earlier, three Arkansas students—who were members of the basketball team—were accused of rape

    Don't make rape jokes on Twitter, ever. But especially don't make them when it happens to be a sensitive subject on your own campus, never mind your own team. 

3. Don't Use It to Tattle on Your Coach

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    In general, you should never tattle on your coach. Not ever.

    Well, maybe sometimes it's necessary.

    But when the big guy is simply late to a meeting? Just suck it up and keep your mouth shut. Chances are, you'll need him to have your back sometime in the future, so it just doesn't make sense to rat him out. 

    Unfortunately, nobody ever taught Marlon Williams these lessons. 

    Back in 2009, Williams posed a simple question to his Twitter followers: 'Wondering why I'm still in this meeting room when the head coach can't even be on time to his meeting.''

    In response, head coach Mike Leach suspended Williams, he banned all of his players from using Twitter and he announced that even their Facebook pages would be closely monitored, according to

    Leach added that it's "a bunch of narcissists that want to sit and type stuff about themselves all the time. We'll put mirrors in some of their lockers if that's necessary but they don't have to Twitter."

    Let it be a lesson that when you mess with your own head coach, your whole team loses. 

2. Johnny Manziel Edition: Don't Ban Yourself from Twitter If You Don't Mean It

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    Poor Johnny Manziel. College football's version of Justin Bieber just can't seem to get it right, at least when it comes to Twitter. 

    First, the Texas A&M quarterback and the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy activated a self-imposed Twitter ban, telling (via Yahoo! Sports), "It's fun to have, but it can get to be distracting at points." Manziel also suggested in the same interview that the media was somehow to blame for his inability to use Twitter effectively. 

    Not only did Manziel not live up to his own ban, but he only lasted a mere two weeks before he reintroduced himself to the Twitterverse (but we'll get to that). 

    If you're going to quit Twitter, you have to have gumption. You can't quit for a couple of days and then renege on your vow. It makes you look childish and indecisive. 

    Not that Manziel could possibly be either of those things. This is, after all, a kid who decided he needed to take online classes because in addition to Twitter, he found his own presence to be too distracting. 

1. Johnny Manziel Edition: Don't Drunk-Tweet When You're Underage

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    Drunk-tweeting is a worldwide epidemic. 

    It doesn't only affect those who are underage. Celebrities—adult celebrities—have had to hand off their phones or make Twitter inaccessible from mobile devices when they're drinking in the hopes that it prevents them from tweeting something stupid. 

    Perhaps Manziel should have instituted a similar safeguard. 

    Just a couple of weeks after Manziel reportedly banned himself from Twitter, not only did he make a reappearance—he made it with a tweet he later deleted that certainly suggested inebriation. According to the Dallas News, Manziel tweeted the following quotation from a Drake song: 

    Young dude just tyryn win here again, if I like her I just fly her to the city Im in. I gotta drinking with ya boy I gotta faded shanty ah ya 

    Not gibberish. Just Drake. 

    Manziel essentially admitted his guilt when he deleted the tweet soon thereafter. 

    The No. 1 rule of how to not suck at Twitter: Disable it on your phone so this doesn't happen to you.