Should Athletes Be Allowed To Tweet In Season?

This season, the NFL has responded negatively to athletes tweeting on the field and off. Plenty of guys break the rules (Ochocinco, T.O.) and have literally paid the price in the form of fines. In college, it’s a different story. Coaches can’t fine these guys. So, what is a coach to do when players are tweeting prior to and during games? What if there are players tweeting inappropriate things during their free time?

AP Photo/Reinhold Matay

UNC and Miami have responded by banning their players from the popular social media site. Randy Shannon even told his players to delete their accounts. The decree has raised questions about whether it’s something teams should be allowed to do.

The comments by Miami QB Jacory Harris were ill-advised; many of the tweets from Devon Ramsay and Quinton Couples weren’t too bright either.

It’s important we uphold freedom of speech, so by telling players they’re not allowed to express themselves could very well be construed as abusing their civil rights. On the other hand, these kids are being given access to a free education for playing a game. They owe the team and the university the respect to behave themselves in a way that paints the school or team in a positive light.

Yes, I know if that was the case then student-athletes should never be allowed to go to parties, bars, nightclubs, and should likely have all their interviews scripted; Lord knows all those hits to the head do wonders for the ability to articulate original thought.

Think of it this way:

Scholarship = salary
University = employers
Coach = boss

By that logic, if the boss says to do something, you do it.

I don’t question the coaches for taking action when their players abuse things like Twitter and do/say something stupid. Everything they do is a reflection on him, his staff, the team, and the school. He should take action when it comes to the image of his team being disparaged.

However, what I do question is the method by which the coaches are going about dealing with this issue. Chances are that both teams have many players that tweet and have never said or tweeted anything embarrassing to themselves, the school, the team, or the coach. Chances are the reason is because these guys have been taught enough common sense to not do anything stupid (at least on purpose) like talk about ‘gang green’ or ‘middle fingers in the air.’

Sports are a way to teach kids the benefits of hard work, working with others, sportsmanship, and teamwork. But it seems that too often, when we get older we think life lessons need to end it becomes all about wining. Perhaps what Butch Davis and Randy Shannon need to do is teach (or recruit) their players to have a little class. That way they won’t have to ban anything because their players will have enough respect not to make the team look bad.

Do you agree athletes should be banned from tweeting? Take our poll and leave a comment.

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