When Athletes Become Twits On Twitter

By Harry Dole


Calgary Stampeders Slotback Nik Lewis
Calgary Stampeders slotback Nik Lewis could have used a block during his tasteless tweet.  John E. Sokolowski – USPRESSWIRE


Social media sites such as Twitter have landed many athletes in hot water for posting some creative comments, to say the least. There have been a number of examples where athletes have tweeted before they have had a chance to properly use their grey matter.  A public relations person can run interference for athletes when speaking to the media, but when they hop on Twitter, there is nobody there to throw a downfield block for them.

Calgary Stampeders slotback Nik Lewis was recently fined by the CFL for tweeting a joke about O.J. Simpson, the black gloves and Nicole Simpson.  He added the hashtag #MaybeALittleToFar for his offensive and not “too” funny joke.  With the improper use of the word “to”, it was not only his team and the league which were ducking for cover, but also his English instructor.

Athletes are no different than anyone else in that they have opinions and feel the need to express them.  Some even channel their inner Richard Pryor to express their comedic selves.  There is nothing wrong with that, assuming they do not cross the line with their comments, as Lewis did.

What may be even more alarming than an athlete’s joke which is born out of bad taste is the atrocious grammar and spelling which often accompanies it.  Twitter permits only 140 characters per post and it boggles the mind how a person can get so many of them wrong.  It is a good thing these individuals do not make their living being paid by the written word because they would starve.

How can so many individuals who are University graduates not know how to write a phrase or two properly?  How did they even get anywhere near a graduation ceremony with such poor writing skills?  Oh, nevermind…now I am the one feeling like a twit for even asking such a question which has such an obvious answer.

Even if one does not know how to spell, how about using a spell checker?  This would at least give them some more time to think about what thoughts they are attempting to convey.  Well, considering some of the creative spelling which is often utilized, even a spell checker would be doing backflips trying to figure out the correct word.

The lesson here is clear:  if you are an athlete and want to take to social media and let loose with a few one liners, make sure it is not malicious and not done in poor taste.  And make sure you know how to write with some semblance of coherence.  Getting your butt handed to you by the league and your team for an offensive post is bad enough.  Using poor writing skills and becoming the butt of your own joke adds icing on the cake, completing the humiliation process.

Tweet away little birdies.

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