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  • Hard Lessons For Wild Prospect on Twitter


    Everyone wants their favorite athletes on Twitter. Social media gives the average fan a level of access to famous people that they didn't have even five years ago. Using it to your advantage can create a following powerful enough to change the trajectory of your career. Using it poorly? Makes you a punch line.

    We'll keep the discussion of language after the jump. Be warned, this is not suitable for work, and will very likely offend people.

    Just the Facts

    The Aeros players have gone head long into Twitter, putting some rather entertaining back and forth out in public for fans to see. It gives you a look inside the personality, and the relationships among the players. Congratulations on call ups, fare thee well's for traded player, fun and games on road trips. All the things fans want to see and never used to get.

    Last night, while watching the Grammys, there was this exchange:

    To which Fontaine responded, and prompty deleted, but lives on due to a retweet by Aeros captain John DiSalvatore.

    Fontaine then issued an apology:

    After which fans began to get involved, tweeting out the information and responding in support and against. Some tweets got responses from the players. Like this one:

    There is the factual basis for your consumption.

    The Response

    Obviously, the language is harsh. Using the term "faggot" is not an acceptable practice in today's world. Sure, people still use it. I have no illusions that hockey players are above its use, and have a feeling it is rather rampant in that particular subset. That does not forgive its usage, nor does it make it any more acceptable. The fact that Fontaine apologized means he knows what he did was wrong.

    The rhetorical questions are easy to come up with. What if it were a racial slur? What if he had made an inappropriate comment about women? What about this, what about that. The fact remains, he used a slur, and just because he deleted it and apologized does not make it go away.

    To me, the apology lacks understanding of the real problem at hand. "It came out wrong." What else could that mean? "It was a roommate battle, nothing more." Actually, it is a great deal more. The words in the apology show that Fontaine does not fully grasp the depth of the insult that word carries with it.

    A clever play on words turns into a nightmare when those words are not chosen carefully. For example... Foo Fuckers would even have passed without much fanfare.

    Other Thoughts


    The Fallout

    What the fallout will be will play out throughout the day. More than likely, it will be done behind the scenes. If I had to guess, the level of usage of Twitter by Wild players and prospects is about to undergo a serious cutback. It's disappointing, because the level of interaction with these players was priceless.

    The problem is, when you are a pro athlete, you are no longer representing only yourself. As frustrating as that may be, it is the truth. This type of language gives the entire Wild organization a black eye, especially if there is no recourse. If Fontaine had called an opponent that word, he would be suspended. Using it is a punishable offense by the powers that be, even in the "heat of battle."

    Outside the rink, in a public forum, where every one in the world has access? You can bet that doesn't go without a lesson being taught. Social media is a wonderful creation. It is also a double edged sword. Access is access, and the players at all levels need to know that.

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