Tweeting Trouble

August 10, 2009 - 7:04 am

Let's try to forget this past weekend's demise of the Red Sox and move on to a bit of a lighter subject -- Twitter. By now most people are aware of the social networking phenomenon that allows people to inform others about every detail of their lives through status updates. Athletes in particular have taken the Twitter scene by storm. Some of the very people who curse their lack of privacy are now giving millions of fans an up-to-the-minute recap of their life. How ironic. Boston athletes such as Randy Moss, Vince Wilfork, Paul Pierce and the ever-interesting Stephon Marbury have all been bitten by the Twitter bug. While most Tweets are meant to be fun and funny, last week the Boston Herald reported that Celtics forward 'Big Baby' Glen Davis used his Twitter account to voice his frustrations with the team over his lack of a contract. Come to find out, Davis claimed the Tweets were posted from a fake Twitter account. Dun, dun, dun. Whether Big Baby was just being a big baby about his contract or not the bigger question is the validity of these athletes Twitter accounts. Millions of fans have been following their favorite athletes on Twitter in order to feel closer to the athlete or to see what they do away from the field. Yet with fake accounts popping up all over the place Twitter could soon create more harm than good. From Shaquille O'Neal to Tony LaRussa fake Tweets have created quite the controversy. LaRussa filed a lawsuit against the web site because a Twittering imposter posted comments about his drunk driving incident and the deaths of two of players earlier in the season. The site does not currently have a way to detect fake accounts but may in the near future if such incidents continue. Not only do the fake accounts hamper the purpose of the site but it seems only a matter of time before a team loses a game because of a Tweet posted by an overzealous athlete. Teams have started to enforce rules about how and when athletes can use Twitter. The ever insightful Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinc0 claims he plans to Tweet after his first touchdown this season (that is if Cincinnati can even make it to the endzone) but not if the NFL has any say in the matter. The league already has a rule in place banning electronic devices from cell phones to lap tops during game time. That probably won't stop Ochocinco though. Recently players have been fined taking their Tweeting freedoms too far. Charger's cornerback Antonio Cromartie was fined for $2500 by the San Diego for Tweeting about the team's food spread and their Superbowl loss. The trend may continue if athletes decide to reveal too much information to fans and media alike. It seems the media isn't quite sure how to handle Twitter also known as the athlete's public diary. Can a story be written about an athlete's Tweets? Apparently not in Big Baby's case. Athletes in one sense have made it easier if not interesting for the media who will pounce on a Tweet about a clubhouse disagreement or otherwise private contract negociations. Some web sites have even made it easier for the media and the obsessive sports fans by seeking out the real athletes on Twitter. But maybe some of the behind-the-scenes clubhouse discussions and player interactions should be left private. Now that decision is up to the athlete.