@AnAthletesBestFriend
Gus Merwin - COMMENTARY
amarc543@uwsp.edu - @GusMerwin
“Sitting at my Jimmy John’s in New Orleans eating a #9. Parade crowd is gone. Nice and quiet. Anyone care to join me?”

That is an official invite to join @drewbrees for a sandwich.

“Say no to cigarettes and drugs!”

That is a Public Service Announcement from @VernonDavis85.

“Swaggin out on this Tyga Careless World: Rise of The Last King. Really nice album! Great features on it”

That is an exclamatory statement of happiness from @KingJames.

The greatest thing to happen to the sporting world since balls is the invention of Twitter. Now that your favorite athlete is on Twitter, the only way you could get closer to them would be the obvious stalking/sifting through their garbage.

Twitter allows for anyone to give an opinion, provide social commentary, or simply tell the world that they just went to the bathroom. When an athlete gets on Twitter it provides them the opportunity to show the world they are a real person.

Athletes like @ochocinco regularly tweet invites to go to dinner with him to places as mundane as IHOP. @TheRealTPlush posts pictures of himself flying a kite. @ArianFoster tweets quotes from some of the greatest minds in history, and actually knows what they mean.

Twitter doesn’t only put a face on the player; it provides a soul to the uniform.

And it’s not just players getting followed on Twitter. Guys like Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban and Cleveland Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert are also highly visible and very active.

“I think Twitter is a great thing for sports,” said UWSP Athletic Director Daron Montgomery (@MontogmeryUWSP), who recently became a member of the micro-blogging site. “I’m still trying to figure it out though.”

The presence of Twitter among students has exploded and college athletes haven’t missed the boat. If you’re a #NASCAR enthusiast and a Badger fan you may want to give @BenBrust a follow. If you’re looking for someone that inspires thousands of people and deserves our respect and admiration, check out @EricLeGrand52.

But like every good thing, Twitter has its drawbacks. As almost every career counselor will tell you, social media is a powerful thing. People have lost jobs and future prospects because of things they say or post. So the best advice I can give you is tweet with caution.

Rob Ambrose, head football coach at Towson University, has banned his players from using Twitter after one star player tweeted a message containing a racial slur before a game.

Yuri Wright, ESPN’s 40th ranked recruit in the nation from Don Bosco High School, has lost out on potential scholarships from Division I schools like Michigan and Colorado following multiple tweets containing racial and anti-Semitic remarks.

“I don’t foresee such an event happening here,” Montgomery said. “However, if it did I believe the university would be very proactive in addressing it.

When asked if the university has a system in play that trolls the social media sites for posts from athletes that could become potential problems, Montgomery said no. They did, however, have such a program in place while he was the Senior Associate Director of Athletics at the University of Detroit - Mercy.

But as potentially controversial as a tweet can be, the majority of them are completely harmless.

There is no doubt that Twitter is a tremendous tool in our world today. Nowhere is it more apparent than in sports. We all want more reliable insight when it comes to our sports information, so who better to hear it from than the athletes themselves?