East Lansing, Mich. — “Our guys need to keep their mouths shut, especially those that aren’t even playing.”
These are the fiery words that came out of Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio’s mouth during a press conference on Tuesday when talking about the tweets that some of his players sent during the Michigan and Alabama game that bashed the in-state rival’s quarterback.
Linebacker Denicos Allen tweeted, “Is this guy really a QB I’ll say my mans (walk-on Tommy Vento) is a better QB lol.”
“DENARD IS SOOOO BAD!” safety Kyle Artinian tweeted. “And it makes me feel so good.”
In 46 characters, linebacker Jamal Lyles said, “I can play quarterback for the school in blue.”
After Robinson completed a 71-yard pass, running back Nick Hill tweeted, “Even a blind squirrel can get a nut ever once in a while…”
Coach Dantonio was very vocal of his disappointment with the men behind the keyboards calling their actions “disrespectful” and “ridiculous,” but think about it, what was disrespectful about what the Spartan “tweeters” had to say? I can understand him using the term ridiculous, as Jamal Lyles could never play quarterback for Michigan, but I don’t see anything disrespectful.
It’s obvious that they are not fans of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, or spell check, but just because they voiced their opinion publicly on a popular social media site that makes them in the wrong? I’m sure they say worst things in the locker room.
None of the players said anything that I would call offensive or disrespectful, they were just using their rights as a citizen of the United States of America to speak their mind and give an opinion, which is something we all have with the evolution of the internet.
“It’s America,” Dantonio said. “But there are consequences that go along with that. I’m not going to say there’s not free speech in our program, but I think that I’ll say what I’ve said all along. You can’t be prideful. You need to approach this game with humility. When it becomes personal, that crosses the line.”
I could understand if the Spartan players were bashing anything other than Robinson’s performance like his character or any other type of personal attack, but they didn’t, they kept it on the field, and everything that they said was fair game in my eyes.
With social media being as big as it is in the world today, everyone has a voice, and that voice can be heard from someone thousands of miles away.
Now, I’m not sure of the rules that Dantonio placed on his team regarding social media, but it seems as if the players are, or were, after Danotnio addressed the incident, allowed to voice their opinion like any other person on Twitter and there were very little restrictions.
I was on Twitter during the whole game and everything that the Spartans had to say was minute compared to the reaction of the rest of the Twitter world.
I’ll give Dantonio the benefit of the doubt in the sense that I believe he knew what the tweets would do on a national scale, as the topic has been talked about on several ESPN shows.
Regardless, if Dantonio doesn’t want that type of reaction from his players then he should have banned social media all together. By giving players freedom to speak their mind, especially men of competitive nature, shots will be thrown at the competition.
Trash talk is natural in competition, it’s something that comes along with the game. As long as the criticizing and trash talk is about performance then it’s within the boundaries of trash talking and not disrespect.
Even though the Spartan tweeters apologized, we know what they really think, and so does Michigan, and that makes their Oct. 20 match-up that much sweeter for the winner.