The New Year is barely three weeks old and already the same problems of the past are being repeated. Twitter is no longer an unknown quantity, and athletes and sports teams now use it to their advantage. Yet still there are athletes and professionals in the industry that continue to misstep.
1. Marvin Morgan took to the pitch at home for English Two team Aldershot and was met with a chorus of boos. Following the club’s 2-1 loss, the foolish young footballer hit Twitter. “Like to thank the fans who booed me off the pitch. Where’s that going to get you! I hope you all die.” The club responded by fining Morgan two weeks’ worth of pay, and then placed him on the transfer list. He is on loan to another team, and won’t be playing with Aldershot for quite some time.
2. Liverpool defender Glen Johnson does not take criticism well. When ex-Arsenal player Paul Merson took a jab at Johnson on Sky Sports, the footballer took to Twitter with the act-without-thinking attitude that the blogosphere loves so much. “Comments from alcoholic drug abusers are not really gonna upset me and who is Paul Merson to judge players, he was average at the best of times.” He continued with more brilliance, “The only reason he’s on that show is coz he gambled all his money away. The clown!” While Merson poked at play on the field, Johnson retaliated with reference to Merson’s alcohol and gambling addiction that plagued him during his playing career. The tweet has since been deleted, but Johnson continued to spout ignorant phrases of self importance. “I dunno wot all the hype is about,” he later posted about his previous comments. “People who give their opinion all the time should accept that 1 day someone else will give their own opinion.”
3. Yet another soccer player, and yet another member of the Liverpool squad has screwed up online. In what will be filed in the ‘dumb-but-funny’ annals, Ryan Babel tweeted a fake picture of referee Howard Webb in a Manchester United jersey after the club lost to United 2-1. He wrote the caption, “”And they call him one of the best referees? That’s a joke” Babel has apparently apologized to the referee since then, but will face charges from the English Football Association, which could include a ban or a fine. Prior to their match against Everton, Liverpool has lost three straight matches, a stretch highlighted by the firing of their manager.
4. Soccer players aren’t the only ones that should stay offline. Minnesota collegiate basketball player Trevor Mbakwe will not be going anywhere near social media sites for some time. In 2009, his ex-girlfriend filed a harassment restraining order against him, and this past week Mbakwe decided to make contact with her via Facebook. Two days later he criticized her on Twitter. Both accounts have been disabled, and the junior has been charged with violating the restraining order. He has since apologized to his teammates, friends and family for poor judgement, and while he will remain on the squad, he will be a reserve for now.
5. Lastly, and least, comes Lebron James. He recently proved yet again that being a young, superstar athlete and making tons of money doesn’t translate to being Twitter-savvy. While watching his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, get crushed by the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat star tweeted, “Crazy. Karma is a b****. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!”
James continues his quest to try to figure out who and what he wants to be. He claims to embrace a bad boy image,and thus the slight jab on Twitter fits, however unfunny. Yet when James was asked about it a day later he backtracked, “”It’s just how I was feeling at the time.” He added, “It wasn’t even a comment from me, it was someone who sent it to me and I sent it out. It wasn’t toward that team.” Clearly the star of the Miami Heat was throwing out random excuses and hoping one would stick. The original tweet may have been antagonistic and a plot to get attention, but the backtracking shows that James really doesn’t know what he is doing, who he wants to be, or how to handle the media in 2011.