Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Thoughts On Attacking College/High School Athletes on Social Media

Photo Courtesy of The Gazette
*This is senior Iowa basketball player Zach McCabe. Zach has been an on/off starter for Iowa since beginning his career with the Hawkeyes and is known for being a "junkyard bulldog" kind of player. He is known for giving it everything he's got on gameday and is liked by most Iowa fans because of his effort. The Sioux City native has been struggling in Big Ten play for the Hawkeyes, a surprise due to his experience. No one has taken it harder than McCabe. Saturday was the tipping point for #15. Zach missed a three late in the game that would of tied it at 75. Not only did he miss it, he airballed it. To add salt on the wounds, McCabe finished the game with zero points and five fouls.

Photo Courtesy of bigstory.ap.org
*Here is Zach after the loss. From the interviews I have watched with McCabe after the game, he had to fight back tears because he was so devastated. This happens a lot. Kids have bad games, they feel bad. Credit them for even having the heart to talk to the media after a game like that. I know it would be near impossible for me to have that kind of courage.

*Like many athletes that struggle, they open up their phones to negative comments on social media. Blasting athletes has been around since sports started. You go to a bar, you hear the boys talking about their team and how so and so isn't doing enough. Same thing at the barber shop, on the phone with your buddy, and even in the stands 20 feet away from the athletes themselves.

*This was true with McCabe after Saturday's loss. Some of the stuff on Twitter being said about McCabe was horrid, so McCabe fired back by tweeting, "The fact that I have iowa fans saying  s*** me is insane. . . You fans suck. . . Suck a fat one all of you."

*Whoa. McCabe has since deleted his Twitter account. With this, let's look at the source. I already established that he gives you 100 percent. He chose to play basketball at Iowa when he could of went elsewhere and played basketball OR football. The Hawkeye  program at the time was struggling. Although he is not fully responsible for turning the program around, he has had a helping hand. He is from Iowa. With all this being said, the support being shown for him would be different if he doesn't have the resume above. Zach's coach Fran McCaffery said, "Go root for another team" to the critics of McCabe. The head coach of the rival, Iowa State, said he would of had a hard time dealing with it when he was a player. McCaffery has now banned Twitter from his team during the season.

*It is so easy for someone to hide behind a computer and tweet negative comments to that player. It is so easy for someone to hide behind a computer and blast a college team on a message board. For those of you doing this to high school/college athletes, get a grip. Remember, these kids are 16-22 years old. Do you know what you were doing at that age? I do and it sure wasn't anything close to as productive as these kids are doing. If you're, say, a 45 year old guy on a college message board blasting your team, don't you have anything better to do? I sure hope so. Go play with your kids or something.

*Working in the media, I have been to countless high school/college practices. Most have not. They do not see the work and dedication that these kids give day in and day out. As the great Norman Dale would say, "That type of commitment and effort deserves and demands your respect."

*Just because you're a fan of a team does not give you the right to absolutely bash these athletes that are out there, giving their best, FOR YOU, the fan. Social media is a great thing: Don't ruin it by attacking these kids who help represent your town and university. It was really easy for some of those "Twitter Trolls" to attack McCabe in 140 characters. I would like to see them do it to his face.

*It is so easy for people to feel emotional about something, get on social media, and type out what they're thinking. But when it's attacking kids, it's time to think again.

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