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Dee: Athletes, Writers defining Social Media Their Way

by Photo of Tommy Dee

Celebrities Taking to Social Media to Talk Trash

Dee: Athletes, Writers defining Social Media Their Way

Far be it for someone like me to criticize people for using Twitter to make a point and stand up for themselves in the face of personal criticism. As a "blogger" who has broken a few stories, I constantly face scathing and unprofessional attacks via Twitter. In my case, I welcome them. It makes me feel like I'm doing something right.


Over the past week in the sports world we saw several examples of high-profiled individuals overstepping some boundaries. First, Magic Johnson went after a hall of fame basketball writer who was sued by another basketball writer for libel. What was Magic doing? Great question. There obviously is history there. I often get advised to "stay above the fray" in terms of avoiding those who take what I do so personally, which I understand, but I have this chip on my shoulder that I can't get rid of. I've fought for everything I've ever had. I'm the youngest in the family  and not the most physically gifted person in the world, yet I managed to play at a high level in essentially every sport I ever played. It's my nature.


Fighters have had beef via Twitter before fights...obviously adding to the angst.


So it must be in Magic's nature as well. For those of you who don't know what Magic has been up to since he left basketball, he's busy re-building inner cities, and has become one of the most successful businessmen in the country. He's doing exactly what he's been doing since high school except this time it's off the court. He's a winner.


But does discrediting Peter Vecsey via Twitter tarnish his image, or is he just having competitive flashbacks? It would appear to be the former seeing that his tweets seemed unprovoked and untimely.

Then there's the whole Osi Umenyiora/ Lesean McCoy thing. Two rivals on the football field. Osi, has had his own issues with the Giants, despite being well-compensated. McCoy is a talented and young running back for the Giants' bitter rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. But, really, what business is it of McCoy's to talk about Umenyiora's contract situation? The simple answer is there is none.


I've been saying this for about a year now and it's appropriate with two looming Collective Bargaining Agreements being negotiated. All athletes could use twitter to break news, which would leave media outlets the somewhat meaningless task of covering recaps (blah) and one-on-one interviews. Oh, and "confirming" twitter reports from said players. It's a crazy game that leagues and powerhouse media outlets have to be careful of.


As my friend Matt Cerrone says, "Twitter is the wild west" and athletes are armed with the ability to change the world of media. For now, let's hope they just stick to harmless beefin'. Why? Because fighting with thumbs is healthier than fighting with guns.


*****

As an ex-staff editor for a major golf publication I can speak to the greatness of Rory McIlroy. His talents were unmistakable when he jumped onto the scene at a young age. There was never a doubt that he'd figure a way to get over the demons of losing a final round lead. Now the flood gates are open thanks to his dominating performance our national Open.


But this isn't about Tiger Woods. It's not even really about Phil Mickelson, who is going to really feel his missed opportunities in a few years as he fades away like Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and the other multi-major winners have. I think Phil has two or so more majors in him, but this is about the Rickie Fowlers, Dustin Johnsons, Anthony Kims and Gary Woodlands of the world to name a few. The European players have a stranglehold on the game and it's going to take some heroic performances from the young Americans to shift the momentum back. Golf has relied on Tiger for far too long, particularly American golf, now it's time to for those who fed of his success and learned to play and compete like him across the 50 states to step their game up. Maybe they should take a page in preparation from their Ryder Cup captain's book. Anyone else notice Davis Love III finished at -3?


*****

As expected, just like my relationship with the network, the new ESPN book is amazing in the beginning and as you move along it becomes self-serving.Just like the network, which, to me, peaked in 2000.  I wonder if they are insured for the arm injuries incurred by patting themselves on the back. That said, if you are working at a start up "Those Guys Have All The Fun" is a must-read as it relates to the building process. It's not overstating the fact that ESPN is one of the greatest start up business in the history of the world.


Speaking of ESPN, how badly did they get fleeced in that Dan Patrick/Rick Reilly trade a few years ago? Reilly's Tiger/McIroy video opinion piece from Congressional on Monday's SportsCenter was okay, even if his suit wasn't, but it would have looked and felt a lot better on the back/inside cover SI without him talking. He's like Mike Lupica that way.


Patrick has been the equivalent of the "5-tool" player for Sports Illustrated in terms of his writing and various multi-media talents. He's as engaging and enjoyable to listen to as ever, while Reilly continues to try to expand his brand with the World Wide Leader by settling into the golf niche. It's been tried before, mainly because some people think because they've been successful enough to play the game a few days a week, they feel like they can speak to it. That expertise often comes up well short. Reilly over stepped his boundaries by annointing McIlroy the second coming and thus brushing Woods to the side. 


It was forced. Especially when Scott Van Pelt follows up with a question to an actual two-time U.S. Open champion named Andy North plainly asking his thoughts of dismissing the greatest golfer of the past 20 years.


North's response was something we avid sports people could have told you.


That counting Tiger out is a bad idea.


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