Should Bob Stoops ban social media?

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
2:00
PM ET
After three losses this season, it's seems there has been a backlash against Oklahoma players using social media. Should the Sooners ban Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites? What do you think? Leave your comments below.

I believe in the First Amendment. Even on football teams. So no, Stoops shouldn’t ban social media.

[+] EnlargeJaz Reynolds
Zumapress/Icon SMIOklahoma's Jaz Reynolds was suspended in 2010 for an offensive tweet.
The use of Twitter by OU players has created a stir among the fans and the media lately. But really, that’s only because the Sooners lost two of their three final games to finish 9-3. As Tony Jefferson pointed out this week (on Twitter) would anyone be talking about social media if OU was playing in the national championship? I doubt it.

After OU loses a game, fans and us in the media, often look for abstract reasons as an explanation. This time around, social media seems to be taking the brunt of it. But does anyone truly believe OU’s record would have been any different had Twitter been banned? The Sooners lost games because they couldn’t cover the pass on defense and catch the pass on offense. They lost games because they turned the ball over too many times and forced too few of them. They lost because key players like Ryan Broyles got hurt. Not because of Twitter.

The banning of Twitter could potentially lead to a backlash in recruiting, too. Virtually every blue-chip prospect in the country owns a vibrant Twitter account. I know. I follow many of them. Telling those recruits their Twitter accounts would be deleted the moment they stepped on campus would prove to be disastrous.

Twitter has also given fans unprecedented insight into what’s it like being an OU football player, and the chance for the players to interact with fans on a daily basis.

Now, do players on this team require better judgment on Twitter? No question. Their tweets are a direct reflection on themselves, Stoops and the university. If a player goes over the line, as Jaz Reynolds did last year, there should be consequences. But banning Twitter is not the answer.
- Jake Trotter


No way. It baffles me that people think social media is a big enough problem that it should be banned. Why?

Social media is way, way below the actual problems which led to a 9-3 record. There are so many other issues that deserve attention that social media shouldn’t even be in the conversation.

Several Sooners are active on Twitter and people take shots at them because of it. But, quite frankly, a bunch of the players who are active on social media are just as active -- and productive -- on the football field.

For whatever reason, when OU players express themselves on social media, some people think they should be focused on football as if they have nothing else in their lives but OU football. They are human beings with active lives and there’s nothing wrong with that.

They can be productive on the field and active on social media. Either a player has the drive to be great or he doesn’t and that’s not impacted by 140 characters.

Oklahoma has plenty of issues; social media isn’t one of them.
- Brandon Chatmon


It is puzzling to me that this is a legitimate concern from Oklahoma fans. No, Stoops shouldn’t ban social media. I don’t believe it’s making nearly as big of an impact as what some others are thinking.

When things went bad late in the season, some fans have pointed to the players tweeting on Twitter too much. OK, so when things go good, is it because they’re on Twitter too much as well?

There are a lot of reasons for why not everything turned out the way OU was hoping in 2011, but you’d have to go pretty far down that list to find social media.

It’s not just an avenue for players to engage with fans, but it’s also really helped players get to know each other. And on the recruiting trail, it’s been huge for the commits to tweet with each other and for commits to tweet with other prospective targets.

Stoops said before the season he realizes what Twitter and Facebook mean when it comes to recruiting. Not every player does it; it’s a choice. But you shouldn’t penalize players for wanting to interact with each other and the fans.
- Bob Przybylo


Should Bob Stoops ban social media for the Sooners? No, it's too valuable for all of the reasons listed above. Most of the Sooners use Twitter in a great way (as Stoops likes to say), interacting with fans and having mindless fun.

There are times when some players have been inanely offensive -- Reynolds' "Austin" tweet in 2010 and Casey Walker's tirade against the fans after the Baylor loss come to mind -- but those are few and far between. With 85 scholarship players, I understand that it's hard to police every athlete 24 hours a day.

But most fans, I think, have to embrace how social media has changed the interaction between themselves and players. Never before can you ask your favorite athlete what their favorite type of ice cream is and have them respond in an instant. Twitter is actually pretty cool, if you have an open mind and don't mind the misspellings.

I think the players' use of social media is intensified because their downtime is under the microscope like never before. Most fans want to believe that their favorite athletes are working out or watching film and trying to improve as a player all day, every day. But that simply isn't the case. With social media, you now know that athletes take time between classes and workouts to do ordinary things.

So get used to social media and embrace it. Heck, maybe even go ask Tony Jefferson for a "retweet." Because it's not going away.
- Dane Beavers

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