Get real about sports and social media

Let’s get the record straight, OK?

I am well aware of a small, handful of parents who just can’t let things go and it’s time to get this squared away.

Then we will talk about social media, accountability and transparency.

In the preseason of the prep football season, I was struck with a very serious illness. Bad enough I was at risk of going blind and with a wrong turn here and there, I might have died.

I was laid up in bed for 10 days and still worked from home while my editor helped pick up the pieces of what I couldn’t get to. My apologies to all.

With the help of our football coaches – and my heart will always go out to you men – we got it done.

But while I was lying in bed in horrible pain, I had the nerve to watch a late-night college football game. It was Hawaii and California and the game was putrid.

Then I had the audacity to tweet how bad quarterback play is getting – while watching college football, while wondering what was going to happen to me.

I never left my home, never went to any of the local scrimmages that weekend and yet, a parent or two decided to make my tweets and start drama that I essentially was calling out high school athletes for being bad at their sport.

That’s pretty hard to do from potentially a death bed.

To actually put two and two together is sometimes too much hard work for some, but if they had, maybe it dies out as a funny oops.

It didn’t.

But you know what? What if I had said the football wasn’t that good? I think there is a line when it comes to holding prep athletes to account – and I have heard some recent stories of “journalists” going overboard in their criticism of prep teams – but God forbid we say a team isn’t that good.

Oh, so we don’t dish honestly to people less than two years away (in most cases) getting ready to survive the real world?

Yeah. Good luck with that.

But what cracks me up about that is that is a clear lack of knowledge of how to use social media.

Then it is the same parents who allow their “children” to use social media in the first place that make this even funnier.

Our policy – mainly on Twitter – is that we will engage anyone and everyone as long as the discourse and debate is civil (even with some fun trash talk), lack ad hominem and really focuses on the topic. 

Young, old, animal or mineral, who are we to be aloof? We are not discriminatory in addressing commentary by anyone if it is civil and smart.

Many of our youth are absolutely fantastic in doing this and we are not too good for anyone and will engage with hoped for enjoyable talk.

But then there is that parent who doesn’t want anyone to “argue” with their “child.”

Now, we both know that these are the same people who demand that their “child” is respected by teachers, coaches, the Greek gods and the local police force while driving cars, having jobs and in some cases (good gravy) vote.

Yet, if they enter in discourse with any of the billions of people that the parent believes should “respect their child” and is told they are “wrong” or just need to “get educated,” then it becomes, “How dare you argue with MY child!”

Huh?

No. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

If you allow your “child” (cough) to have social media accounts then either you limit their access or you have to accept that you have allowed this person to potentially flex internet muscles and they have to stand by their words.

That’s called integrity. If they can’t own up to that type of expectation, pull their Twitter account.

I can tell you that there are thousands of adults who are more foul, profane, inappropriate and the like than any current high school kid with a Twitter account.

But if you can’t handle your kid not handling social media and not being able to take it, they shouldn't be allowed to dish it. You are dealing in the wrong aspect of our world and it may be good to try something else.

As far as engaging on Twitter, that’s our job and one other thing we are not to do is encourage the proliferation of fake news. If someone says KU won 100 national titles in basketball, it is our journalistic prerogative to say, “Um, no it’s three.”

We also don’t stalk our Twitter followers and some of the profiles are so ambiguous as to know who exactly these people are.

But as long as they act appropriately for Twitter (is that an oxymoron?) then who really cares?

If they swear, use improper innuendo and just attack and insult the people involved in the debate, they are gone.

Aged 5-50, 8-80, all rules apply.

Social media is important for us to let people know news breaking items, let them know about our stories that have been printed and to gauge different topics and seek other ones from that social engagement.

If you have kids involved and they can’t handle themselves for honest, fun and sometimes educated discourse, cancel their accounts.

But when the adults seem to act worse than the kids?

Oh well, there is always Facebook.