So Monday has come and gone, and Les Miles is still the head football coach of the LSU Tigers. The reason that even needs to be written is due to a baseless Twitter rumor over the weekend that Miles would be resigning due to his having an inappropriate relationship with a female student. It turns out a Western Kentucky University broadcasting student named Sam McGaw cashed in on a fake rumor that originated on a message board having to do with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
And so, is that it? Is this how it is in the world of sports now? Just repeat something you saw in a chat room without doing any other critical thinking or research, not to mention that it was started by someone in a chat room who had a specific motivation in starting the rumor: hurt the Tigers and hurt their coach. As someone who has watched and followed SEC football for a lot of his life, that’s all this was: a bunch of chat room bull from one fan against a hated rival.
This is exactly why any rumor that originates on Twitter or on some kind of message board needs to be met with skepticism. If something can’t be sourced or confirmed by any of the major news outlets (NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, etc.), or the Associated Press, Reuters, or ESPN, then it’s probably not true.
In this specific case, the guy screwed up completely in how he presented this rumor. Personally, I think it was probably intentional because it was a guaranteed hits generator and accomplished the intended goal of blowing up on Twitter. It’s really getting to the point where Twitter going down a peg in terms of how people look to it for news would be a necessary thing.
But it is better to apologize than ask permission. McGaw learned that this past weekend when a nasty rumor over Twitter helped him without the rumor having any basis in reality. It’s all just sad to me. Mostly because this whole thing was eerily similar to an earlier, and just as nasty, baseless Twitter rumor directed at Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball coach Jay Wright. This kind of stuff I really do hate with a passion.
It’s just a shame that something like Twitter is so easy to manipulate if only because success can be instant for whoever started the rumor and whoever can stand to gain from it in some way. Why? Because people fall for it. It’s too easy. And I mean that in an ugly way.