On Monday, the Twitter account of the Denver Broncos made national news in the sporting world. The account rattled off many impressive stats of the prolific offense ran by Peyton Manning including this one:
In my opinion, the tweet standing alone is just a tad bit bush league. However, I don’t think it is totally out of bounds. That is not to say that I would ever tweet anything of that nature from our official Twitter account at Grizzly Athletics (@UMGRIZZLIES). I don’t disparage or call out opposing teams. I think it is in bad taste and I think it reflects poorly on our department. But again, I don’t think the tweet in and of itself constitutes a major social media no-no.
But there is something about the timing of the tweet that makes it bad, something that the person running that account should have either realized or respected…
The Broncos play the Jaguars this weekend.
Starting in high school it seems like every coaching staff uses bulletin board material to motivate players. Anything an opposing coach or player might say that can be twisted around to sound like a diss will be utilized to fire the other team up. Believe me, this type of motivation works. It has helped me play harder and, outside of the playing field, work harder.
What the staff member in charge of the Broncos’ Twitter account did was provide the Jaguars with bulletin board material. Now I know Jacksonville has a .000034% chance of beating Denver. I know they are the largest underdogs in NFL history. I also know that in all reality most of the grown men playing on the Jaguars couldn’t care less about the tweet. BUT, there is the possibility that maybe a few of the players might actually take it to heart and use it as motivation on Sunday. If this is the case and maybe just as little as one player exerts a little more energy than he normally would because he thought of that tweet for a split second, that staff member has done the Broncos terribly wrong.
Those of us who handle social media for college and pro teams have to be cautious and accountable. Many of us speak to large fan bases several times on a daily basis through multiple posts, tweets, pictures, etc. We carry the voice of the school/organization we represent and it only takes one instance of stupidity to make our program look bad. Out of the numerous different ways to do so, displaying arrogance regarding an opponent several days before playing them qualifies as one.
In any athletic department or professional organization, the main goal of the support staff is to never do anything that might decrease the chances of victory. That tweet by the Denver Broncos staff member definitely didn’t help to increase the chances of victory and like I said, if it only ends up resonating with just one athlete on the Jaguars, that staffer has done a disservice to his organization.
Jacksonville did respond with a tweet of its own:
Personally, I wouldn’t have gone that route either. I think by them mentioning Denver outright it gave the Broncos too much recognition and it displayed bitterness on the part of the Jaguars. I would have quoted the tweet and put something in front such as “Irrelevant”, “Motivation”, or “Doesn’t matter come Sunday.” The Broncos responded back to Jacksonville but it just gets stupid so I won’t even go there.
Many of us who have played sports remember these three words of advice: Respect your opponent. This wisdom should not be lost as we enter our professional careers but perhaps embraced even more….social media gurus included. Don’t Blink.