Being an avid Duke basketball fan, I try to catch up on any Blue Devils news that I can get during the offseason. I’ll frequent message boards, read Duke web sites, and even follow some of the players on Twitter to see what they’re up to.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to see a tweet from Duke’s Nolan Smith that had a link to his newly-formed blog:
In the blog was some basic information about the purpose of the site and how he wanted to give his fans an inside look into the world of a college athlete.
At first I thought this was a wonderful idea. How much better can it get for me than to read and view basketball information from the actual blog of one of Duke’s starring players?
Later on, I changed my opinion.
Duke fans shouldn’t be worried. Maybe it’s my Dukie bias speaking, but Blue Devil basketball players don’t get in trouble too often. They’re not running off and doing stupid things, getting DUI’s, or injuring themselves in the offseason—Duke players only do those things once they leave the Durham campus.
I think it’s great that college athletes want a voice and have the opportunity to create their own blog and give their own insight, but I’m worried about what could eventually happen because of this.
There will be a time, probably sooner rather than later, where an athlete is posting something on their site that they shouldn’t have and the blogosphere will see it. It is only a matter of time before something like this turns into a disaster for a player and a program.
It could be an interaction with an agent they accidentally talk about, or the mention of a recruiting violation that occurred that they never even knew could be a violation.
Someone will post a picture online that portrays him- or herself in a derogatory manner, and within a minute, it will be spread across the Internet—and there’s no turning back from there.
Someone will find out that the site was not created with the athlete's own money, and then the player and the school will be punished for the player illegally accepting gifts.
It’s a fine line, and that line just seems to risky to take.
I don’t know what exactly will happen or when it will happen, but I do know that blogs aren’t for everyone. If you’re a star player in college with a chance to go to the pros, I’m going to say that a blog probably isn’t right for you. There’s no reason to take the risk when the real rewards are in your near future.
The Internet gives everyone the chance to have a voice, and that’s a great thing. But sometimes you have to know just when to be quiet. With a social networking application like Twitter, every player already has the ability to get their voice out, albeit 140 characters at a time.
Maybe the character limit is limiting their character, but for the time being, it’s probably for the best.