Think before you Tweet

by Our View

We all have a right to say what we want, when we want, how we want, but according to men’s basketball coach Charles Zanders, having that right as a student-athlete is a right that can wait until the rest of the basketball season.

In a move made back in December, Zanders denied his team through using Twitter only for the remainder of the season after a member of the basketball team made derogatory remarks on Twitter.

“We felt that as a precautionary tale that we would ban the players from Twitter,” Zanders said. “Players should not be tweeting anything negatively that might hurt us as a program.”

First Amendment rights are those that should be taken with great caution, because if someone takes them away from another citizen, that might stir a riot. Coincidentally, Zanders agrees.

“I believe in First Amendment rights,” said Zanders. “They can go back to tweeting whatever they want once the season is officially over.”

Zanders has a couple reasons why he decided to block Twitter from the everyday lives of the 20 or so men who play basketball for the Storm.

One of those is recruiting. Zanders encourages recruits to look at current players’ sites to get a feel of how he may be as a person.

“We don’t want prospective players to look at those sites and see players acting negatively, and they get a sour taste in their mouth,” Zanders said.

Our Sports Director Zach James served as student assistant in the men’s basketball program for two years under Bruce Wilson and Zanders from 2009 to the beginning of the 2011 season. Although he understands why some students could be upset over this, he agrees it’s the right move.

“No matter whether they realize it or not, they are representing Simpson College 24/7,” James said. “This isn’t really the first time a scenario has happened like this. It’s just the first time that someone got caught voicing their opinion inappropriately.”

James also has a piece of advice to other student-athletes.

“Take a second to re-read whatever you are about to send, and decide for yourself if you want to stand behind your words. We always told our guys that, and I thought that they would listen. Sometimes our mouths acts first before our brains.”

Athletic Director John Sirianni stands behind Zanders’s decision.

“We don’t want our players acting negatively in any matter,” Sirianni said. “We teach our student-athletes how to act properly on social media every fall in compliance meetings.”

The team isn’t all that upset about being locked out of one of the most popular sites on the Web since what they should be worrying about is how they’re playing on the floor right now.

“If a player’s number one concern right now is not being able to tweet, then we have problems,” Zanders said.

Some players have been given permission to use Twitter for class-use only.