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News » Knock it off, tweet de suite

Knock it off, tweet de suite

Knock it off, tweet de suitePerhaps it is time to add a new sports measuring stick alongside the traditional 100-metre dash, the 98-m.p.h. fastball, the 50-goal season and the like: the 140-character burst.

It does seem that way of late, as athletes have moved from being early adopters to recent abusers - according to their coaches and teams, anyway - of Twitter, the online social-networking portal where in 140 characters or less they can reach out directly, live and unfiltered to fans, keep them updated of their pithiest insights and news nuggets, and sometimes, put their foot in it but good.

Texas Tech banned it after a couple of players had a go at football coach Mike Leach via Twitter. The Jets' David Clowney was benched after he complained about the lack of balls coming his way. The Raptors followed their Miami Heat rivals' lead Tuesday and announced their policy. In all cases, the message right back is simple: no tweets for you, birdbrain.

The NFL, with its penchant for absolute control of its product, kicked it off earlier this month, announcing that players, coaches, football personnel and their representatives wouldn't be allowed to post via Twitter, Facebook and other social-media portals from 90 minutes before games until the end of the post-game media period.

Ahead of the NBA's league-wide policy, which is expected to be less draconian than the No Fun League's, the Raptors announced their rules: no tweeting from an hour before practice until an hour after, and from 90 minutes before a game until the post-game media period is up.

This may as well henceforth be known as the Charlie V Rule, for the former Raptor Villanueva, now with the Milwaukee Bucks, who tweeted from the locker room at halftime of a game in Detroit last season. His coach Scott Skiles, a by-the-book type, blew up. And a star, at least online, was born - Villanueva's Twitter race with Toronto's new-media all-everything Chris Bosh was the stuff of slow news days over the summer.

These two, along with Shaquille O'Neal, whose followers number more than 2 million, might well be described as all-stars - of tweeting, anyway, a place where the message is primary and unfiltered.

"Athletes have to watch what they tweet," Villanueva told Yahoo! Sports recently. "Make sure they keep it neutral and clean."

Wouldn't that take the fun all out of it?

Tweet it ain't so.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: September 30, 2009


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