NFL Players’ Twitter Use Expresses Discontent In Real Time

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Why wait for your official spokesperson to make a comment or until you get that TV time to say what you really feel about football? The New York Times reports that NFL players are taking to Twitter to express their unhappiness about the current bargaining going on between the NFL and the NFL Players Union regarding the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) instead of keeping quiet until negotiations are done.

“The NFL has reached that point where the kitchen sink is getting opened and every ridic claim will be tossed out. Enjoy the comedy people,” Houston Texans right tackle Eric Winston tweeted on February 14.

It’s not only the contracts that have become a trending topic among players. Steve Johnson, wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, infamously tweeted “I praise you 24/7!!! And this how you do me!!! You expect me to learn from this???How??? I’ll never forget this!! Ever!! Thx Tho.” in response to an essential pass which he dropped, which sparked a strong response from the public and the media – and probably more interest than necessary in the regular season game. When Antonio Cromartie criticized both sides for not negotiating a contract sooner, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck tweeted whether or not Cromartie knew what CBA meant. The tweet was removed, and friends of Hasselbeck said he was being sarcasti. Still, the comment was made public quickly and widely by the use of social media before the quarterback could retract it.

Surprisingly, the NFL Players Association supports the use of Twitter in an age where every public statement normally needs at least one look from an PR representative. The Union estimates 716 of the nearly 1,900 players are active Tweeters. Ralph Cindrich, an agent for the Union, said to the Globe and Mail that social media might be able to help keep players united in case they’re needs to be a lockout during contract negotiations.  Still, things Tweeted in haste might be regretted later, some players point out.

“You can sometimes have an emotional reaction to something, and say something that becomes a bigger story than you thought it would be, especially because there won’t be actual football news,” said Arizona kicker Jay Feely, the team’s union representative. “That’s probably the bad side.”

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