MILWAUKEE (AP) - It might be the next big thing in online social networking, but Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles isn’t a big fan of Twitter.
At least not when one of his players is posting from the Bucks’ locker room during halftime of a critical game.
Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva got a talking-to from Skiles after the coach learned Villanueva posted a message to his Twitter feed _ a “tweet” _ from his mobile phone during halftime of Sunday’s home victory over Boston.
“We made a point to Charlie and the team that it’s nothing we ever want to happen again,” Skiles said after practice Tuesday. “You know, (we) don’t want to blow it out of proportion. But anything that gives the impression that we’re not serious and focused at all times is not the correct way we want to go about our business.”
Using the screen name “CV31” _ Villanueva’s initials and jersey number _ Villanueva posted the following message during halftime Sunday:
“In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.”
And he did. Villanueva finished with a team-high 19 points as the Bucks, who are trying desperately to hold on to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, beat the Celtics 86-77.
Villanueva said Tuesday that he didn’t think the post was a big deal at the time but now understands that posting to a Web site at halftime can create the impression he isn’t focused on the game.
“That wasn’t the case at all, because I was very into the game _ as you can tell, the way I played,” Villanueva said. “But you can interpret it two different ways. You can look at it like, ‘OK, he’s definitely going to step up’ versus, ‘Oh, he’s really not into the game, he’s not paying attention.’ But that wasn’t the case at all. That wasn’t my intention at all.”
Twitter allows its users to send short, text-message style notes to a mass audience and is rising in popularity among athletes, politicians and celebrities.
NBA star Shaquille O’Neal (screen name: “THE_REAL_SHAQ”) occasionally uses the site to give away tickets to fans. Cyclist Lance Armstrong (“lancearmstrong”) provides updates on the frequency of his anti-doping tests and posts pictures from his training rides.
Villanueva took athletes’ tweets to a new level Sunday.
But by Sunday night, he made it clear in subsequent posts that he was getting “some beef” about his post.
“The halftime twitt actually motivated me,” he posted. “That’s why I did it, plus of course to keep you guys in the loop of some live action.”
Skiles said Tuesday that he didn’t necessarily think Villanueva’s post was a sign that he wasn’t paying attention _ but he knows some people could take it that way.
“I think a reasonable person could look at that either way,” Skiles said. “And I’m a pretty reasonable guy. And so the answer is no, not necessarily. But I also know from the comments I’ve gotten from some people in the game that there could be people who think it’s a sign. We just want to distance ourselves, that’s all.”
Skiles said Villanueva would not be fined for the incident but said it was a “no-brainer” that players shouldn’t be doing such things from the locker room any more.
“My personal opinion is, it doesn’t have any place in the locker room,” Skiles said. “The locker room’s a private place for the players, a sanctuary for the players. But once you walk out of the locker room or whatever, I’m not into getting into guys’ personal lives.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted to being clueless about Twitter and about Villanueva’s actions.
Do you know what Twitter is, Rivers was asked? “No.”
Do you know what Facebook is? “Yeah.”
When it was explained that Twitter is like Facebook, Rivers said, “During the game?”
“Yeah, well, I have no comment. New generation.”
Villanueva said he has been on Twitter for about two months and enjoys interacting with fans. He had more than 1,600 “followers” subscribing to his feed as of Tuesday afternoon.
Still, he seemed surprised by the attention he was drawing with the Bucks preparing for another tough opponent Wednesday night.
“We’re talking about Twitter here,” Villanueva said. “We should be worried about Orlando.”