Players Should Realize They Sit Among Fans
By Dan Harralson
As the old saying for coaches warns, start listening to the fans and you'll be sitting with the fans.
This saying now represents coaches and players on Twitter. When coaches and players interact, or even post a simple message in a public forum, they're sitting with the fans.
Twitter is good in some cases as programs like Tennessee use social media to speed up the process of rebuilding their program. It's also working for Auburn in pushing their Auburn Fast motto to entice even more recruits to Gus Malzahn's program.
But two examples surfaced in the last few days that exemplify why Twitter erases any chance a coach or player can go negative toward fans.
Ironically, the two tweets came from the Alabama Crimson Tide and two of their prized possessions.
Derrick Henry broke onto the scene nationally with his 161-yard, two-touchdown game against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, but Henry elected to sit with the fans Monday with an Instagram picture that makes one wonder why athletes need a free education on top of an unlimited meal plan. Henry then broke the cardinal rule and gave his opinion to fans questioning how a college kid with no job could afford the vehicle without a full-time job.
AJ McCarron is the other (former) Crimson Tide player who probably needs to take a Twitter lesson from the other recently drafted quarterback in the state of Ohio, Johnny Manziel, who shut down his Twitter account at least momentarily.
Alabama fans are taking to Twitter and talk radio to voice their displeasure after McCarron characterized his time at Alabama in a negative context.
"A lot of people don't realize I wasn't healthy at Alabama," McCarron told Senior Bowl president Phil Savage on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I sacrificed a lot to play for coach (Nick) Saban and that university. I played through a lot of injuries, and we never leaked it because that's just the way it is.”
When fans tweeted at McCarron, upset at the phrasing that he sacrificed a lot for "that university," the back-to-back BCS national championship quarterback continued to interact with them.
It just makes you wonder: Why would players interact in a forum so accessible to fans and then not expect any backlash for their tweets and shared photos?