Be Careful With Social Media
They can study superstars mechanics or analyze their work ethic. They can break down their leadership skills and absorb their mannerisms and poise under pressure. They can find out what it means to fill a role and gain knowledge on how to achieve a goal at the highest level.
There are lots of things kids can take away from professional athletes when it comes to becoming the best in any particular sport, but the stars of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, among other leagues, are also excellent examples of what not to do.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the latest to prove this point.
The 27-year-old standout recently posted a picture of cars submerged under floodwaters with the message, “I warned you the #7tormsComing !!! #Houston” in reference to himself. Kaepernick wears the No. 7, and San Francisco opens its preseason at Houston on Aug. 15.
Soon after, the post, which was on both Twitter and Instagram, was deleted, and an apology was issued, but the harm was already done.
At least 21 people have died, more remain missing and millions of dollars in damage occurred in Texas and Oklahoma due to recent heavy rains and subsequent flooding.
Obviously, this tragic event is not to be taken lightly, but Kaepernick is not the first and will not be the last athlete to create controversy on social media by mindlessly hitting send.
Olympians have been dismissed from the games, endorsements have been lost, scholarships pulled and reputations have been marred beyond repair thanks to posts that were not thought out.
It is not unusual. In fact, it has become common to see apologies on various social media feeds, but they do little to help mend any negative uprisings.
While posts placed in haste can often hurt a professional athlete’s credibility and image, it can destroy a young person’s future.
Today’s generation of youth have grown up with social media at their fingertips. They don’t know a world without Facebook, Twitter and Vine. It is their primary means of communicating with one another, replacing the telephone and even face-to-face interaction.
Social media is so commonplace, it is second nature to almost every high school student, including athletes, and the comfort many feel when using such outlets can be downright scary.
Don’t get me wrong; social media is a wonderful invention when used properly. In addition to allowing information and communication to spread more rapidly than ever imagined, it has the ability to give insight into people’s lives that were previously impenetrable.
It promotes conversation, lends itself to creativity and is a great platform for exchanging ideas, but the downside is overwhelming.
Even when accounts are set to private, everything someone posts on social media is public, and due to the level of comfort teenagers have with the various outlets, it is easy to find oneself in a sticky situation. Kids don’t always think through what they say in the first place, and when comments or videos are posted in haste, they can live for eternity.
College recruiters scour through potential commits’ accounts, searching for insight into players’ mentalities, and one offensive, insensitive or crude post can send them running.
Social media outlets provide first-hand accounts of a young player’s personality, revealing far more than any coach, parent, friend or teacher possibly could.
Hopefully, today’s youth are smart enough to realize the power their smartphones and laptops yield and approach each post with a clear conscience, knowing the words typed will live beyond their lifetime.
For many professional athletes, the lessons come in the harshest way possible, but maybe those who look up to them are learning from the mistakes.
By Clay Whittington, posted on kdhnews.com