In this new age of sports, there is much more to the game than just playing. The image a player projects has become very crucial in creating your own brand. These days, social media is an important aspect of creating that brand. Everyone has a Twitter or Facebook account and uses that to express themselves and their thoughts. But apparently, not everyone is a fan of players expressing themselves. The latest expression of disdain for social media with his players came from Louisville head coach Rick Pitino.
Apparently, Pitino is not the biggest fan of social media. He recently made the following statement to ESPN’s Mike and Mike:
Pitino had some strong words for social media in regards to athletes. Even going as far as to say that “every hour on it is like taking a little bit of poison.” I could understand some of what he was saying. From a certain viewpoint and in what city he lives and coaches in, players can receive a ton of praise. But they can also receive a ton of undue criticism from overly passionate fans. And if athletes are not prepared for it, they can be blown away by it. Some learn over time how to handle the criticism, but Richie Incognito showed that some still have a lot to learn. But in the grand scheme of things, it sounds like technology has passed Rick by. Gone are the things that he did as a youth and here are the things of today’s America. You cannot hope to have players avoid something that is part of society as a whole. So, instead of trying to steer his players away from social media, Rick ought to pay attention to his in-state rival’s head coach and his way of thinking.
Kentucky’s John Calipari is a coach that has attracted the top talents in college basketball. Some would say that he is just in it to make himself look better. People can talk until their blue in the face about what he is in coaching for, but one thing you cannot dispute is the things he does to help these players with social media. Calipari is one of the few coaches in America that seems to care about his players on social media. Here is what he said on ESPN’s Mike and Mike:
Calipari’s frame of mind is way different than Pitino’s. And he spoke the truth about him and other coaches that encourage their players not to use social media. They truly don’t understand it and how to use it. While he probably embellished when he said he did not read one response, he did drop some knowledge in terms of what social media is used for and how he helps prepare his kids for the usage of it as their careers go on.
Ultimately, the thoughts of Pitino are null and void because kids are going to be kids. Social media is here to stay, so why not embrace it and help them instead of discouraging them. Athletes more than anyone are seen in the public eye through all they do everywhere. So why not prepare them to handle social media and other things instead of having athletes pretend social media does not exist? In this instance, Pitino needs to come out of the dark ages and embrace what is there instead of continuing to badmouth it like it’s a sickness. While social media can get you in trouble, it can be a blessing when handled correctly. Maybe Rick needs to learn that and teach his players like Calipari is at Kentucky.
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