BEREA, OHIO (AP) - The only loud tweets Browns coach Eric Mangini wants to hear about are the ones coming out of his whistle.
Mangini talked to Cleveland’s players on Monday about the pitfalls of social media sites after Browns cornerback Brandon McDonald recently posted a vulgar message directed at Cincinnati wide receiver Terrell Owens on his Twitter account.
“It started out as a joke and it escalated to what it is now,” McDonald said. “I really didn’t mean anything by it. It was a bad decision on my part to put that up. One of the things I don’t want to do is cause a distraction to this team. The way it’s being taken is not how it was meant. I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone or cause a distraction to this team. That’s the last thing I wanted to do right now.”
Owens was asked if he knew about McDonald’s message on Sunday before the Bengals played the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game.
“Who?” Owens said. “I don’t even know who he is. Ronald McDonald?”
The Browns will host the Bengals on Oct. 3 and visit Cincinnati on Dec. 19.
Mangini will not ask his players to discontinue using sites like Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Boise State coach Chris Petersen has banned players from posting on Twitter for the duration of the season so as not to cause a distraction in the Broncos’ national title chase.
Mangini appreciates how the social networking sites can be valuable communication pipelines between players, teams and fans. However, he cautioned his players to watch what they say, to represent the organization in a professional manner, and make sure they think twice before striking the “send” key.
“With social media, it’s a great way to connect to the fans,” Mangini said. “They (players) have a responsibility to do that in a way that represents the organization in the right way and that’s their responsibility and they are accountable for it.
“If they don’t do it, there are consequences to those actions.”
The Browns have at least 17 players who frequently use Twitter, none more so than Pro Bowl return specialist Josh Cribbs, who keeps his more than 33,000 followers updated with daily observations and his whereabouts off the field.