I don’t think there is a single person who hasn’t had a moment where they uttered something they regretted. It’s the classic case of open mouth, insert foot here syndrome. Nobody is more familiar with the ugly ramifications of poorly chosen words than Riley Cooper of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cooper was caught on video at a Kenny Chesney concert using the “n-word” in a heated discussion. The video has gone viral and Cooper is caught in a firestorm of criticism that will be hard to recover from. As of this writing Cooper has been excused from team activities and is seeking counseling. He will surely lose his job as a wide receiver for the Eagles and will have a difficult time catching on with another team.
Cooper is the latest example of how the explosion of social media platforms has changed the way life is lived. Everywhere you go somebody is on their I-phone posting something to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I enjoy using some of these platforms but try not to be consumed by them. I’m older and did not grow up during the internet explosion.
There is no shortage of embarrassing usages of social media. Cooper was videotaped at a concert. New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz tweeted the following regarding the not-guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin case: “Zimmerman doesn’t last a year before the hood catches up with him.” Cruz later deleted the tweet.
Texas Ranger pitcher Matt Garza also just put his foot in his mouth, unleashing a series of tweets about Eric Sogard of the Oakland A’s and his wife. Apparently Garza did not like the fact Sogard bunted on him during a game. Just Google “Matt Garza tweet” for a taste of his stupidity.
Athletes cannot fall back on the old school defenses they used to use against writers. No longer can they say I was misquoted or that quote was taken out of context. The idiotic quotes are coming directly from the athletes themselves via social media. Their only recourse is a half-hearted apology that seems forced and insincere.
Social media is not all bad. We have seen how wonderful it can be in spreading news during a disaster. We all enjoy sharing pictures and anecdotes with friends and family. The masses seem to prey on those entrenched in the public eye. It was just recently exposed by Edward Snowden how much Big Brother is watching. Maybe we should be more worried about how much Little Brother/Sister are watching and recording. You can bet your sweet ass, I mean, rest assured I thought long and hard about every word I wrote for this blog. I want more readers, but I don’t want to be the next Riley Cooper.