Watching Robert Kraft refer to Cyrus Jones by Jones’ twitter handle “Clamp Clampington” was the perfect confluence of amusing, surreal and awkward.
Like when my father used to complain about the kids “making donuts” in the intersection outside our house in the middle of the night, or anybody over 30 combining the words “epic” and “legit,” it just hits the ear wrong.
Social media has bridged the communication gap between the generations. Or at least made “old” people privy to conversations that -- throughout the course of recorded history -- kids haven’t wanted them nosing into.
This newfound access doesn’t allow us to merely appropriate and make others cringe. It also allows people -- in the context of professional sports -- to consume, judge, interact and drop consequences on athletes because of their social media persona.
Employers, fans, owners and media members now have unprecedented access to players’ personal lives. And the player who forgets that, or decides he doesn’t care and marches on without asking “How will this reflect on me?” is courting disaster. Or at least a level of irritation.
No player drafted in 2016 will ever forget the impact social media can have on a career. Even though Laremy Tunsil didn’t tweet out a video of himself smoking a bong while wearing a gas mask in front of a Confederate flag (social media hat trick), he paid the price. His draft drop cost him millions because, even though he didn’t actually tweet it, the video called into question Tunsil’s decision-making, off-field habits and the circle of people around him. That’s a lot of judging off of one tweet, but that’s what the deal is.
I asked Mr. Clampington – whose twitter feed shows he’s a Sagittarius who’ll go back at people who offer critiques – what his philosophy will be now that he’s in the NFL.
“Social media is one of those things where you gotta control and discipline yourself to not pay too much attention to it,” said Jones, the Patriots second-round pick on Friday. “As you get older, people tend to stray away from social media and I’m already starting to. At least trying to. And being more aware of what I put out there and knowing that I can’t respond to everything somebody says. That’s definitely something that myself and fellow rookies have to understand . . . We’re not just representing ourselves but our families and this organization. “
Jones -- based on the 10 minutes we spoke to him and the conference call from last Friday -- seems sharp enough to know where he ought not tread. In case he doesn’t, he and the rest of the rookies will get an indoctrination.