In a bold coaching and disciplinary move, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher has banned his players from Twitter. The move is designed to keep the players out of trouble, focused on football, and most importantly, to spare the school from embarrassment on the social networking site.
“Twitter is a privilege. When you represent an organization you have to represent it very well or we don’t represent it,” Fisher said “When we are responsible enough to deal with it, we’ll deal with it [return to Twitter].”
Earlier this month, Seminoles defensive back Tyler Hunter tweeted complaints about the police after being pulled over for a seat belt issue. In his 140 character rant, Hunter referenced the rap song “[EXPLETIVE] The Police.” The refrain “kill the cops” was used in the message. While the song and message we’re almost certainly not to be taken as a violent threat from Hunter, it put a negative light on him and program.
This isn’t the first time that Fisher has kept his players off the site. Last season, Fisher had the team refrain from Twitter for a period after they were bombarded with negative tweets stemming from an upset loss at the hands of Wake Forest.
While this move may feel extreme, it might eventually be looked at as a tipping point in college sports. Maryland Terrapins basketball coach Mark Turgeon had an issue with point guard Terrell Stoglin voicing displeasure with playing time on Twitter last season after a loss at Duke.
While it’s a non-violent outlet that expresses freedom of speech, Twitter can also be an distraction and unnecessary sounding board for collegiate athletes. If Florida State benefits, other teams may follow suit.
Joe is also the host of Charm City Sports Talk on WNST.net in Baltimore and member of the Society of American Baseball Research.