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The only thing more dangerous in the sports world than Plaxico Burress carrying a gun is an athlete with a Twitter account. Ever since tweets became the rage in social media, athletes from the professional ranks down to the high school level have been loading up their thoughts and firing them into cyberspace, causing irreparable damage to themselves and others.
High Schools around Connecticut are taking precautionary measures to make sure tweets or content posted on other platforms such as Facebook don't get their student-athletes into trouble they can't get out of.
"The Cheshire coaching staff just completed an extensive class on proper
use of Social Media," said Steve Trifone, athletic director at "At the latest spring parent/athlete meeting, I covered how parents and athletes should approach the proper use of Social media as it relates to Cheshire High School athletics.
Once an person hits the send button on Twitter, it's out in the cuber-world for nearly everyone to see, including college coaches and recruiters. In January, Yuri Wright, an All-American defensive back at Dom Bosco Prep in New Jersey, posted sexually explicit material on Twitter. He was expelled from school and Michigan and Notre Dame, who had been recruiting Wright, backed off and did not offer him a scholarship.
Wright was warned several times about the negative effects of Twitter like many student-athletes around Connecticut,"Before every season, we have extremely qualified people come talk to the players about the dangers of social media networks," said head coach at for 31 years. "We make sure the kids know what they post can have serious consequences."
Wright paid the price for his reckless tweet by losing out on the chance to go to Notre Dame or Michigan. Cappie Pondexter, a basketball player in the WNBA, had her reputation stained and character questioned after she posted this tweet after the devastation in Japan last March, implying that country deserved what they got.
"U just never know! They did pearl harbor so you can't expect anything less." Poindexter apologized but the damage had been done. She'll always be that basketball player who made that insensitive remark.
High school athletes want to be hip like the pros and when they see tweets highlighted on ESPN and other media outlets, they want to try to be as creative and funny as the people they idolize, sometimes with disastrous results.
"People have be to be so careful now and we really don't know where social media is headed because technology can be vastly improved by even next year," said Dave Arendas, director of baseball operations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "You have to wonder if it's even worth it to tweet."
Twitter allows you 140 characters to express your thoughts, but it can take fewer than that to blow up a reputation or alter an athletic career.