- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not embracing the technology

In the latest news from the sports vs. personal expression front, New York Jets receiver David Clowney sat out last Sunday’s victory over Tennessee because coach Rex Ryan caught him grousing on Twitter about his lack of playing time. Ryan might be a jovial, fun guy who allows his players greater freedom of speech than most of his peers, but he won’t stand for clownish behavior, either.

Meanwhile last week, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach stripped his players of all Twitter privileges after one of them told the world he wasn’t happy about Leach being late for a meeting. Leach called Twitter (and, for good measure, Facebook) “stupid,” adding that tweeters “are a bunch of narcissists that want to sit and type stuff about themselves all the time.”

Yes, and your point is?

The NFL and Chad Ochocinco publicly knocked helmets over Twitter. A few weeks ago, Redskins backup linebacker Robert Henson caused a tweeting stir when he made some untoward comments about fans who dared to boo the home team. It’s a volatile mix, football and players randomly sharing their thoughts, as normal people are now doing en masse. Football players don’t lead normal lives. They are subservient to a rigidly controlled, tightly wound, autocratic system. As we all know, football coaches are notoriously paranoid, some more than others.

Several NFL teams have banned tweeting, not just by players but reporters and fans on the premises. The league has general Twitter restrictions, and so do other pro leagues and teams. But football has embraced modern gadgets and cutting-edge technology like no other sport. Every NFL and big-time college program has a young techno-whiz or two on staff. And now a new form of technology is proving to be an issue, if not a distraction.

For those who enjoy seeing big, haughty, powerful institutions (like, say, the NFL and NCAA) squirm, the irony is rather amusing. Revenge of the nerds, yet again.

He said what?

“That would be nice. Tell [Bill] Belichick to call me.”

- Former Patriots linebacker Junior Seau, who turns 41 in January, when asked if he would like to rejoin the team

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