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Social media a tricky game for student athletes

Tyler McElmurry - The State Hornet

Tyler McElmurry - The State Hornet

Shaun Holkko

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Like many millennials, the majority of student athletes at Sacramento State most likely have a number of social media accounts to keep up with friends, family and the world around them.

However, one bad tweet or post can ruin a young player’s career. Joey Casselberry, a former baseball player at Bloomsburg University, is a prime example of what not to do. He was dismissed from the university after making controversial remarks on his Twitter account about Little League Baseball star pitcher Mo’ne Davis in 2015.

Screenshot via Twitter

One tweet can erase everything an athlete worked for in sports. For the athletes at Sac State, it is no different.

“Not only are you representing yourself, but your team and your university as a whole,” said Justin Strings (Instagram, Twitter), the Hornets basketball team senior forward. “If you were to tweet something negative about somebody, it will look bad on you, your team and your university. You just want to make sure you are mindful of what you put out there.”

Being conscious of what you post on social media is something the media relations department at Sac State instills into its athletes at the beginning of each season.

“We always have a meeting about it at the beginning of camp with the person in charge of our social media accounts to stay away from it, and if you are using it, use it carefully and wisely,” said Dre Terrell (Instagram, Twitter), the Hornets junior cornerback.

However, social media can have their positives, as members of the football team learned over the summer after they went bowling. Sac State junior safety Mister Harriel (Instagram, Twitter) took the opportunity to post a video of himself performing a trick shot on his Instagram account. He reenacted Kyrie Irving’s famous euro step, finishing with a behind-the-back throw that landed a strike. The video instantly went viral, garnering over 7,000 views and 700 likes just on his personal account, not including the numerous reposts.

“It was pretty amazing,” Harriel said after his video was reposted by Bleacher Report, a sports news website. “It’s pretty funny how my name blew up in just 10 minutes really. It was a good experience, but I didn’t let it get to my head.”

The effects of social media really come down to how you use them. If you tweet any thought that comes to mind, it might come back to bite you later. Cardale Jones of the Los Angeles Chargers by way of Ohio State is one example.

Screenshot via Twitter

 

“I think (social media) is a good platform,” Sac State senior setter Kennedy Kurtz (Instagram, Twitter) said. “There’s just been way too many instances like the Ohio State QB tweeting ‘I don’t go to school to get grades, I go to school to play football.’

“I just want to make sure, whatever I post, my grandma and mom are OK with seeing it.”

However, Terrell said he takes a different stance with social media, which is to just avoid it for the most part.

“Personally, I don’t use (social media),” Terrell said. “I try to stay off it. I don’t feel like anything good comes from it. I just try to stay away from it, nothing but drama.”

In 2017, the wrong tweet can become a screenshot and live forever, even after being deleted within 10 seconds. But most athletes agree, it can be used responsibly.

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