St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez made unwanted headlines earlier this week when it was discovered that his "favorited" tweets on Twitter were full of pornographic photos and links.
After getting a chance to speak to Martinez, Cards manager Mike Matheny spoke out on the matter on Tuesday, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold.
"We're embarrassed, and he's embarrassed," he said, referring to the 22-year-old setup man.
Martinez's Twitter page has since been cleaned up, but hopefully he has learned his lesson about the dangers of social media.
When it comes to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever online site one likes to peruse, there are advantages when it comes to interacting with sports figures. It gives fans unique opportunities to get closer to their favorite players better than ever before, occasionally even giving them a chance to converse with the ultra-popular stars.
But sometimes we get too close of a look.
Athletes, just like everyone else in the world, need to be careful of what they post online. However, unlike much of the rest of the population, these figures are watched over with a magnifying glass and adorned by millions.
As Matheny put it, athletes are role models:
We are, like it or not, role models, and that’s the danger when this thing hits the area that it hit. There are a lot of young eyes that love the St. Louis Cardinals and their players and could be easily influenced. Regardless of your moral compass and where it points, those sort of things that we’re talking about are not things we want our kids seeing.
We've seen it happen far too often. A very public figure says something or posts something inappropriate, and it immediately puts themselves, their team and everyone around them in a negative light. As Matheny continued to iterate, it's "embarrassing."
ABC's Austin Kim chimed in, referencing golfer Steve Elkington, who recently made waves with his tweets about football player Michael Sam. Kim suggested perhaps it simply starts with a lack of knowledge about the subject of social media:
After seeing the dumb Twitter behavior of Steve Elkington and Carlos Martinez, how many people REALLY know how social media works?— Austin Kim (@AustinKKim) February 25, 2014
Martinez is the latest culprit.
Nevertheless, these things pass, and the young right-hander has already come up with a solution to avoid the dangers of social media, as he told ESPNdeportes.com's Enrique Rojas, via ESPN.com:
I'm fighting a spot in the starting rotation, and that's what matters to me now. I don't have time to be on social networks doing bad things. These are problems that come to us and must be resolved quickly. From now on, I won't directly operate my account, I'll put a person in charge.
As a rookie last season, Martinez finished the regular season with a 5.08 ERA in 28.1 innings. But thanks to an electric fastball, he compiled a 3.55 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 11 strikeouts in 12.2 postseason innings, helping the Cards reach the World Series.
Now, he'll fight for a spot in the rotation, and judging by last October's performance, he has a good shot, especially with Jaime Garcia still recovering from shoulder surgery.
But he'll need to avoid potentially negative distractions, and that starts with social media.
And hopefully, other young athletes can learn from yet the latest example in the risk of hitting enter.