Tweet Freaks? 5 Reasons Donovan McNabb Is Wrong For Criticizing Athletes For Using Twitter
Donovan McNabb doesn’t have a Twitter account. So it should come as no surprise to hear that the Washington Redskins quarterback isn’t a big fan of the social networking site. In fact, he’s so opposed to it that he doesn’t think any athlete should be allowed to use it.
“I’m not a fan of Twitter,” McNabb said during a recent in-studio radio interview on ESPN 1000′s show, Waddle & Silvy. “Nothing against their program or what they have, but as an athlete, I think you need to get off of Twitter. All these social networks of you tweeting about you watching a game when you wanna be playing in it but you’re mad you’re not playing in it, so you’re gonna criticize someone that’s playing in it. I don’t believe that that’s the right deal. That’s not professional by any means and, you know, we’re all in a fraternity, so if you see a guy who’s struggling, this isn’t the time to jump on him or kick him while he’s down, you know, because that same guy will come against you and kinda blast your team out of the water. So I think for an athlete to be Twittering is the wrong move, it’s one that [athletes should] leave to the fans and let them comment on certain things, but athletes need to get off Twitter.”
To put all of that into context, McNabb wasn’t happy to see that NFL players like Maurice Jones-Drew used Twitter to criticize Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler during a playoff game last year. In a nutshell, his explanation was meant to show his disdain for that. However, we can’t help but read that quote and think, “Man, is Donovan McNabb getting old—or what? Is that all he thinks Twitter is used for!?” So to try and help give him a better understanding, we came up with five reasons he’s absolutely wrong when it comes to athletes using Twitter. Step into the 21st century, son. If you’re an athlete right now, Twitter is your friend!
1. Twitter gives athletes a way to explain themselves without using the media as a filter.
Imagine if someone stopped you every day after work and asked you questions about your performance that day. “Why did you do this?” “Why didn’t you do that?” “How do you plan on rebounding tomorrow?” Sounds like fun, right? Eh, not so much. Especially when a lot of your words get twisted around to help sell newspapers and magazines. Yet, that’s what athletes are forced to do every day after their games. Twitter is the one place where they can answer questions freely and offer up their opinions on things without getting edited and censored by the media. And with all the criticism McNabb has received throughout his career, he seems like the type of guy who should relish in the opportunity to express himself freely.
2. Twitter allows athletes to clarify any stories about them that are released by the media.
In addition to allowing athletes a platform to speak without any help from traditional media, Twitter also gives them the chance to fact-check anything about them that makes it out there into the world that isn’t necessarily 100 percent correct. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should always take them at their word, but Twitter gives them the chance to at least respond to media reports about them immediately, which is helpful for athletes like McNabb who are criticized often and may want to clarify certain stories about themselves.
3. Twitter provides athletes with a chance to give their fans a behind-the-scenes look at their lives.
Some athletes—like McNabb—are private when it comes to their personal lives. But a lot of them are willing to share details of their lives with their fans and Twitter gives them the chance to do that. As a result, there are more athletes tweeting about what they ate for lunch, which pair of sneakers they want to buy, and what they’re listening to than there are athletes taking shots at other athletes on Twitter. So, please: Don’t let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch, Donovan.
4. Twitter lets athletes promote the things that they want to promote, including their charities and foundations.
Truth be told, athletes do a lot of good for their communities. But stories about charity events and foundation dinners usually aren’t sexy enough to make the back page of the newspaper or the front cover of Sports Illustrated. So for years now, athletes have been doing good but struggling to get the message about the good things they’re doing out to the world. With Twitter, they can promote these things and get people involved without being too intrusive or preachy and they can do it anytime they want thanks to their thousands of followers.
5. Twitter puts athletes into the proper perspective—and shows that they really are human just like us.
In the past, athletes have been glorified in newspapers and magazines to the point that it’s hard to think of them as regular people. Twitter is, in essence, the great equalizer. Just like rock stars, movie stars, and even politicians, athletes are people who worry about things going on in their lives, struggle to make it through tough times, and—yes!—tweet the wrong thing and get in trouble from time to time. Is it stupid? Yes. Does it make them look bad? Of course. But, does it mean that all athletes should be banned from Twitter as a result of it? Absolutely not. McNabb needs to get with the times and realize that Twitter is here to stay, whether he likes it or not. And until he decides to come around, we’ll be patiently waiting by the “Follow” button for him. We hope to see you on the tweets soon, D-Mac.