Twitter a double-edged sword in sports

Let’s get this out of the way first: I love Twitter.
Without it, and pretty much the entire Internet, I probably would go insane trying to find out the latest information in the sports world, especially when it comes to the ones that I like which aren’t particularly popular in mainstream conversation (such as Formula One auto racing and curling).
I mean, there was a time if there was a trade or a free-agent acquisition in one of the big four sports, you would have to wait until Sportsdesk came on in the morning on TSN (I’ve surely dated myself with that reference), which now would be considered the slow way of getting news.
For the hard-core sports information junkie like myself, sites such as Twitter and/or Facebook are a godsend as you pretty much can follow along with a situation as it’s happening—and get numerous opinions on the topic.
Plus, you’re even able to discuss it with the people who are breaking the information, as well, be it a beat reporter or a star athlete, which is a pretty cool experience.
Still, there is a downside, as a fan, to all of this information that comes out at a massive rate of speed. For instance, the surprising nature of a big event is, well, no longer a surprise any more.
Case in point, in the lead-up to Saturday’s OHL draft, four of the top five picks basically already were known if you were on Twitter, making it pretty much a lock as to what would happen when 9 a.m. rolled around on draft day.
Personally, while I loved getting all of this information ahead of time, I was sort of bummed in a way because any anticipation I had to what was going to happen during the opening stages of the OHL draft was now dead and gone.
In a bigger sense, if you knew days ahead of time last June that the Edmonton Oilers were going to take Taylor Hall over Tyler Seguin, that basically would take all of the fun out of the months’-long debate that was taking place over the two highly-coveted prospects.
It’s a double-edged sword being a sports fan on a site like Twitter as you find what you want to know, but at the same time you may not wanted to have known what was going on behind closed doors.
That’s something that a number of people in the sports industry are finding out the hard way at the moment as more and more well-known people are letting their opinions known.
For the most part, the athlete on Twitter usually doesn’t talk too much about events outside their life or their team, and some find them to be a tad boring. However, there are exceptions to the norm, with Phoenix Coyotes’ forward Paul “Biz Nasty” Bissonnette having gained more of a following due to his comedic stylings on Twitter than for his on-ice play.
Recently, though, a couple of athletes have run into an issue over being candid on Twitter. Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Rashad Mendenhall made a Tweet criticizing those celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden, which led him to losing an endorsement deal he had signed with the Champion athletic company.
While not as controversial, recent Kingston Frontenacs’ draft pick Max Domi, the son of former NHL pugilist Tie, posted on Twitter that he wasn’t going to report to Kingston and instead play for the University of Michigan Wolverines. However, Max would remove the post from Twitter a short time later—leading many to wonder if he had let the cat out of the bag already.
But without question, the biggest Twitter controversy occurred Monday when Todd Reynolds, vice-president of Uptown Sports Management, which represents players such as Mike Fisher, made a post where he criticized N.Y. Rangers’ forward Sean Avery’s support of same-sex marriage.
Almost as soon as Reynolds clicked the Tweet button, a firestorm was unleashed throughout the Internet, with the majority of people ripping apart Reynolds’s viewpoints.
While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it’s quickly becoming apparent that anything controversially on the Internet can blow up in a hurry—and that it’s clearly best to use discretion before writing anything down.
It’s like the old saying goes, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

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