- - Wednesday, September 20, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Suffice it to say these aren’t your father’s pro athletes.

That’s not all bad.

A lack of introspection, empathy and sensitivity retarded emotional growth for decades among many of my gender, particularly those in the sports ethos. While the rest of society typically put work aside to attend their child’s birth, mourn the loss of relatives or celebrate family milestones, team schedules usually dictated the decision in sports.

Paternity leave? Get out of here!

Fast forward to 2017 and many athletes are more enlightened if not totally progressive. They don’t fear their manhood being questioned if they share concerns about health and safety. Or if they’re unbothered that a future teammate might be gay. Or if they criticize their sport for being lenient in cases of violence against women.

Great. I loved the Geico cavemen but that’s the extent of my affection for Neanderthals.

I support guys who are in touch with their emotions and know their primary love language. However, there’s still a line and it was crossed this week by Robert Griffin III and Kevin Durant on Twitter.

Why RG3 keeps talking about his ill-fated tenure in D.C. is beyond me. The same goes for Durant’s insistence on continually revisiting his much-criticized departure from Golden State. But there they were, the former talking about the Mike Shanahan Era and the latter defending his choice in free agency.

To be fair, Griffin didn’t initiate the conversation. Former teammate Santana Moss went on 106.7 The Fan and said RG3 exulted and took credit when Shanahan was fired in 2013.

Maybe asking Griffin to say nothing in response is too much. Such accusations surely burn holes in innocent parties. But instead of issuing a simple denial and moving on, Griffin went all the way in, offering more futile defenses in the unwinnable war for his battle-scarred reputation.

“To openly lie about me is a betrayal,” RG3 tweeted Tuesday to his 2.23 million followers. “Been lied on a lot over the years. Put in an impossible situation w/ a coach who never wanted me. Made players like Santana Moss a believer through hard work, film study.

“Showing up early, leaving late, putting in the extra hours, staying after practice & getting extra work in. We won the division that year. Next year coach wants out, say he want out, say he never wanted me as his QB & I GET BLAMED? C’mon man. I have been the good soldier.

“Some so desperately want me to fit this negative narrative that has been pushed about me. But I don’t fit it. Never have. Never will. Prove it in Cleveland. Voted Captain. Came back to play for my teammates just to help us win 1 game. With a broken shoulder. Stop the lies.”

He should’ve stopped after the first tweet.

The camps are entrenched at this point and adding more 140-character volleys have no effect. If anything, his protestations only lead the sides to dig in deeper, those who proclaim he’s a diva versus those who holler he’s a victim.

But at least RG3 clapped back at a former teammate. What’s Durant excuse for disguising himself to go at nondescript fans?

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Some folks are upset that KD decided to leave Oklahoma City. He joined the Warriors more than a year ago but, whatever, a fan challenged him about the move last weekend. Durant went third-person, apparently believing he was using a fake account.

“He didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan,” Durant tweeted about himself to his 16.9 million followers. “His roster wasn’t that good. It was just him and Russ.” He advanced the argument in another tweet: “Imagine taking Russ off that team, see how bad they were. KD can’t win with those cats.”

We can’t expect every segment of the Twitterverse to think and act rationally, to realize that a 27-year-old All-Star might prefer the Bay Area to OKC.

If KD wants to get into a back-and-forth with each nitwit, he’s free to do so. Seems like a waste of time but he should put his name on it.

At a technology conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Durant didn’t confess to using a sock puppet but he apologized. “I happened to take it a little too far,” he said. “I do regret using my former coach’s name and the former organization I played for. That was childish. That was idiotic, all those type of words.”

It was a very sensitive, millennial thing to do.

We’re not used to athletes going that far the other way, wearing their emotions and showing their tender side when it’s bruised. Few do that as often as RG3 and Durant. They’ll probably will do it again. Blame it on Twitter, which they can’t/won’t quit.

The social media platform is great for a lot of things.

But it’s the wrong place to get in touch with your feelings.

Brooklyn-born and Howard-educated, Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.

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