Tuesday, January 24, 2012

People, please. Get a grip.

I won't sit here and tell anyone to avoid social media. I have a Twitter account of my own, and contribute to the Sports Night account as well. There is a lesson to be learned in social media, and it comes to us from Sunday's NFC Championship game.

New York beat San Francisco in overtime to earn a spot in Super Bowl XLVI, thanks to a Lawrence Tynes fields goal. The Giants capitalized on a 49ers turnover from Kyle Williams on a punt return.

Williams, for some background, is a 2nd year pro, and the son of Chicago White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams. He's been around professional sports for a long time, and knows the ins and outs of being the hero or the goat.

The overtime fumble was his second turnover in the game, having seen another punt bounce off of his knee, and the Giants recover the loose ball. It should also be pointed out that Ted Ginn, Jr., the normal punt returner for the 49ers was out with an injury, putting Williams in the lineup.

The question I have for you, the reader is this. Is a fumbled punt in an overtime of a football game justification for rushing to your computer or mobile device and start typing a death wish to the player?

If you answered yes to that question, please close this browser, and seek help. I'll wait for you to get back.

If you answered no, thanks.

Think back to ESPN's pre-NFL Draft coverage last year. Herman Edwards, NFL analyst and former Head Coach, gave his "talk" to the incoming class of rookies, and he touched on social media. I'm paraphrasing here, but it boiled down to "once you press send, it's out there for the world to see." That kind of advice was sorely needed by the alleged "fan" that wrote to Williams and wished that he, his wife, and family would die because they deserved it.

We have to remember that while we are passionate about the games and teams we love, they are just games. In the big scheme of things, the box scores don't cure illness, fix the economy, provide jobs, end wars or starvation. They are games played on fields, or inside stadiums and arenas.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas chose to not attend the White House ceremony honoring the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. Thomas went to his Facebook page, and posted his reasons for not attending, boiling it down to his disagreement with the Obama administration and its policies. His choice not to attend for his own reasons. The American-born goalie has that right.

The social media tie-in here again is clear-once you press send, it's out there. It's up to the athletes to stand by their statements, and for fans to respect their views, while still always remembering, it's just a game.

Mike Solarte

No comments: