You can't handle the truth

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In today's 24/7 sports talk news cycle, everything is up for discussion. It doesn't matter if there's a story or not. Talk show hosts have multiple hours a day to fill on the radio. ESPN is broadcasting live news shows from early morning to late at night.

Breaking down the play on the field only goes so far. With ratings and personalities at stake, sometimes the story has to be pulled and prodded along.

This week the world of Twitter reared its ugly head again. (Not everything about Twitter is ugly, but there are some areas of it that are grotesque.)

Comments made by NFL players on Twitter this week made news across the country because there was a lack of anything else to discuss, apparently.

First, Texans RB Arian Foster caught heat for telling fans who were only concerned about his injured hamstring because of their fantasy team that they were "sick." There are some serious fantasy kooks out there that are more concerned with their fantasy team than their own family, if they haven't abandoned them to play more fantasy football. It's insight to how last year's leading rusher feels about fantasy football. He doesn't care about your team, or if he's on it. The truth can hurt.

In order to clarify the injury or show he was okay, whatever the thought process was, Foster tweeted a picture of his injured hamstring's MRI, which set off the talking heads. They clamored about how it's helping the opposing team and how they'll be targeting his hamstring now. Wouldn't they already be doing that?

Next, Titans RB Chris Johnson, who just ended a 34-day holdout for a contract extension, sent a tweet telling "fake Titans fans" to shut up during his holdout. His message actually included one of those hip acronyms that stands for 'shut the...' well, you can figure it out. People thought he was being greedy for holding out and he tweeted, "I could care less if you think I'm greedy."

This was an interaction with people on a social media website. Not exactly ground-breaking news, yet many sports talk shows and TV shows treated it as a top story. You want to know what Chris Johnson is thinking during his holdout? He just filled you in, but you weren't happy with the response, so he's criticized for it.

This type of thing happens every day. We want to hold professional athletes to a "higher standard." Why? They have thoughts and opinions just like everyone else. Because people are listening to them they need to be careful what they say? All the more reason to speak their mind. If you don't want your kid seeing what a pro athlete says on Twitter, get your kid off Twitter.

We say we want to know more about these players but the masses can't handle it. "You want the truth?" as the classic movie quote goes, well, the truth makes you mad. As the that famous quote concludes: "You can't handle the truth." It makes you wonder why these athletes share anything on these social networking sites.

They share their thoughts because they're treated like movie stars; everything they do making news. While they're paid to produce on the field, they can't help themselves when people are hanging on every word, especially the people who don't like them. Those are the people who are trying to bait them into saying something, which in-turn, the mainstream media will criticize and make them look bad.

You rarely get any truth out of most athletes, so when it does emerge, the public sees the one who dares to speak as different, strange, questionable. In reality, those people should be embraced. They're speaking their version of the truth, as everyone should. Keeping it real, if you will. And the majority can't handle it.