[Clickworthy] Players scoff at trumpeting of labor ‘agreement’

To put this in terms that most folks can understand: the NFL is like someone who is selling a home. The catch is the buyer doesn’t get to have the place inspected before he signs on the bottom line.

If you flip on ESPN this morning, or hear a soundbite from Commissioner Roger Goodell on one of a host of news and sports networks, it would sound as if the NFL lockout could end as early as this afternoon. And it could. But Yahoo! Sports national NFL writer Jason Cole tempers expectations slightly by giving us the entire story – that much of this is a sly public relations move by the NFL owners to back the players into a corner. Accept an “agreement” that was never agreed upon, or look like the bad guys withholding the most popular sport in the country from its rabid fans.

Goodell’s opening statement was decidedly leading, making it seem as if this proposal was done. Goodell went so far as to use the word “agreement” even though there isn’t one.

“With this ratification and with the ratification of the NFLPA board, we will be prepared to open the training facilities beginning on Saturday, this Saturday,” Goodell said. “We will then be prepared to start the new league year next Wednesday subject to the full membership of the players ratifying the agreement and recertifying as a union. Obviously you know that we’re all under a time constraint. That’s one of the reasons we worked to get this agreement completed tonight.”

Again, nothing is complete and the indication that it is done was downright offensive to some players.

The player receiving the most airtime today seems to be New Orleans Saints fullback Heath Evans, largely due to the tweet he sent out last night:



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[Clickworthy] Once again athletes, think before you tweet

If twitter were a loaded gun, no telling how many athletes would have shot themselves in the foot – or worse.

A great piece in this morning’s (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion Ledger by legendary sports columnist Rick Cleveland on the hazards of 140-character public statements by (particularly) college athletes. Included are eight maxims of Tweeting that everyone should be aware of, but so few seem to be (I’m looking at you, Mr. Weiner).

C.J. Johnson, a 5-star recruit heading to Ole Miss in the fall, was the latest public figure to not realize that he was one. SportsbyBrooks preserved a host of obscene tweets, many of them denigrating to women, and a few more relating to a new vehicle Johnson supposedly obtained during his recruitment period (the link is but one screenshot, and it does contain offensive language).

Johnson’s tweets aren’t uncharacteristic. High schoolers and college freshmen say stupid things. But until recently, they haven’t been said so publicly, which tends to become a problem when that everyday high schooler/freshman suddenly becomes a person of public interest.

His tweets are also part of a greater unfortunate trend among black Twitter users. Patrice J. Williams wrote a thoughtful article in January about the habits of the disproportionately large number of African-Americans on Twitter. She observes how “Black Twitter” serves to reinforce negative stereotypes about the community as a whole – and especially black youth. Johnson bears the weight, however misappropriated, of adding to that regrettable portrayal.

Johnson closed his Twitter account shortly after the story broke (he deactivated his Facebook account months earlier after getting into a public dispute with Mississippi State fans). Cleveland suggests that the potential star football player go further than that – to consider all of his words as just the type of public statements they now are, and to, perhaps a little sooner than the typical incoming college freshman, grow up.

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