“Twitter: A Best Friend or Worst Enemy of Athletes”

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall (pictured above) has turned into a very solid NFL running back. But he is far from a professional "tweeter."

Most people of pretty much all ages have ventured into the ranks of the Twitter train by this time in some fashion.  Twitter is huge and is turning into the ultimate news outlet.  I will admit that the madness that ensued via the Twitter World following the take down of Osama was truly something special and something that I will not soon forget.  When I tell my kids about the day that the United States finally captured and took down Osama, I will also talk about the madness that ensued via Twitter.

For the athletic forum, Twitter can also be a great thing.   People are able to receive news instantaneously from millions of sources.  In addition, people are able to interact with players, coaches, and various sports personalities through “tweets.”  What could be better than creating a way for fans to actually relate with the athletes they idolize and cheer for?  Guys like Chad Ochocinco have used the Twitter world and the whole forum of social media to their advantage increasing their popularity exponentially.  The majority of athletes have caught on to this by now and are doing what they can to create a greater appeal to a larger fan base via Twitter.

Some guys just don’t get it though.  And there is one guy that comes to mind when I think of those that are “Twitter Incompetent.”

Rashard Mendenhall.

Now, Mendenhall has turned into a fine running back that played a key role in leading the Steelers to an AFC Championship this past year.  But boy has he struggled with his utilization of the Twitter World.  First he made comments backing up already hotly contested comments by fellow NFL Player Adrian Peterson, which compared NFL Players to slaves.  Now he has spoken out against Americans celebrating the death of Osama.  Talk about two heavy topics to hit on the wrong end of the stick.

Now I realize that one of the core aspects and best parts of being an American is “Freedom of Speech.”  All are entitled to their own opinions, and have the ability to share it if they so desire. But these are statements that do not need to be made public. Surprisingly and luckily for Mendenhall, he only has a little over 13,600 followers on Twitter (Chad Ochocinco has nearly 1,970,000 followers).  So he has not even done a great job in developing a strong following.  This is probably a good thing.

The way I look at it.  If you have something really controversial to say, do not say it during a press conference or any sort of forum with the media.  And in today’s society, where we have the  Twitter World, do not tweet about it.  Those 140 characters can do a lot in sinking the public persona of a star athlete.

For Rashard Mendenhall, he has really failed to utilize the benefits of tweeting and has really hurt his fan base in doing so.

Twitter can be an athlete’s best friend or worst enemy.  In Rashard Mendenhall’s case, it has become his worst enemy.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.



9 responses to ““Twitter: A Best Friend or Worst Enemy of Athletes”

  1. To me, this issue with Mendenhall represents a gross misunderstanding of what “Free Speech” actually means to a lot of Americans. Too many people forget that the right of “Free Speech” exists between an individual and the government, not between individuals. In other words, while Mendenhall can’t be arrested for what he said, he can certainly be fined by the NFL or get a ton of hate mail from people offended by his statements. The bottom line is Mendenhall is free to say whatever he wishes, but he also has to take the responsibility for it.

    • JW,
      Great points. And I am all for everyone being entitled to their own opinions. But there is a time and a place. Speaking out controversially to the media or on a public forum such as Twitter is never a good idea.


  2. Excellent job. I really enjoyed reading today’s post. Twitter is something that everyone can take advantage of.

    I added an article about how to set up an effective twitter account.

    Create A Professional Twitter Account

  3. I don’t agree with what he said, but I think as a society we look at things too skeptically also. He didn’t hurt anyone, just let him be. All this being politically correct is a lot of times just overkill. If he wants his opinion heard then well, now he did. I wouldn’t do it, he did do it, and I give him props for not going out and saying sorry right away for what he thinks and instead releasing a statement trying to explain himself.

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