Daniel Nichols – Twitter: Is it Worth It For Sports Stars?

Another day another sportsman being investigated for comments made on Twitter.

A day after the Ben Te’o alleged assault case surfaced young cricket Chris Lynn is in hot water for tweeting about the woman at the centre of the allegations. This just a day after David Warner was fined for his comments made on twitter over the weekend.

Lynn and Warner can be added to a long list of celebrities brought undone by the social media website.

This poses the question, is Twitter really worth it for these stars?

Josh Dugan has been disciplined more than once for his comments on social media. Ultimately a picture posted on Twitter lead to his sacking from the Raiders. He even urged a “fan” to “end” himself.

Bored individuals and sometimes even organised groups target or “troll” certain sports stars looking for a reaction. Dugan has long been a target due to his likelihood to engage negative comments.

Robbie Farah is perhaps the best publicized occurrence of “trolling” as a sick, sad, twisted individual tagged Farah in comments about Farah’s mother. Some of the things said (and I will not be repeating them here) were downright disgusting and provoked politicians to look at ways to prosecute the coward responsible. The Daily Telegraph even created a petition to “Stop the Trolls” and dedicated a large amount of time and effort into naming and shaming the “Trolls”.

I don’t think many would have batted an eyelid had Farah tracked down the coward sending those messages to him and taken the matter into his own hands.

No one deserves that kind of attack, whether famous or not. Some idiots believe they have the right to make any lewd comment they please toward someone just because they’re a celebrity.

Unfortunately as Farah said, it comes with the territory, but is being on twitter really worth the abuse? Is it worth running the risk of having everything you tweet be put under intense scrutiny?

Not everyone on twitter is a complete moron though. I personally have met some amazing people I would never have otherwise encountered and no doubt sports stars feel the same. It must feel good to read messages of support and encouragement when times are bad, and read messages of congratulations after a good win.

Some sports stars use twitter extremely well. ‘Aussie’ Joel Brunker is well known for being extremely interactive with fans and has built himself an army of fans due to this fact.

It seems though that for every positive comment a sports star gets there is an abusive one right behind it. Journalist Phil Rothfield was recently encouraged to ‘Die In A Fire’. Like him or not, and judging by recent twitter posts, most do not, there is absolutely no justification for such comments.

In Dugan’s case people urged him to simply hit the “Block Button”. That is much easier said than done. Imagine being abused each and every time you log in to social media, something that most people in the civilized world are now a part of. Why should Dugan lose his right to use social media just because he plays football?

For mine, sports stars should be able to use social media however they choose. They run the risk of being attacked by sad people with little else going on in their lives other than being that person who made a celeb blow up.

What I do believe is that each and every NRL player that uses the website should undergo some sort of training. I don’t mean how to use twitter per-say but more how to react to idiotic comments.

After all if some twitter troll gets into an argument with a celeb, who’s the one who’s going to be in the paper tomorrow?

For mine Chris Lynn had no right in commenting on the situation and was his own worst enemy. David Warner was reacting to something he was unintentionally dragged in to and crossed the line. He has been fined what is pocket change for a man getting paid millions to play the game. Josh Dugan should never have reacted the way he did. Robbie Farah was simply the target of a hate filled keyboard warrior.

If used correct twitter is an amazing tool in connecting with fans. I personally have interviewed stars I would never have been in contact with otherwise.

In most cases it looks like random idiots with no lives are the reason stars drift away from twitter, however in some cases stars say stupid things. We all say stupid things, however we don’t have our every tweet watched and published should we cross a line.

For mine sports stars have every right to enjoy twitter as we all do. If they can manage to ignore idiots, stop themselves from saying something stupid or stop their cousins from using their account, then the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

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