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How to deal with spiteful Twitter critics, including those who went after Alex Oriakhi

Apr 14, 2012, 1:24 PM EDT


It has become an ugly reality for college and professional athletes in the new, wired world of sports.

With every move, whether it be a commitment, a transfer, or an in-game blunder, there is inevitably a contingent of critics on the Twitterverse who will chime in with language that is certainly not fit for print.

The latest situation came as former Connecticut forward Alex Oriakhi, granted a release to transfer from UConn to play right away at the school of his choice, announced that he would be headed to Missouri.

As Michael Rogner shows on Run The Floor (beware of the unfortunate language some Twitter users employed, if you follow the link), it got ugly.

In some of the more tame language, users gave their opinions that Oriakhi had “zero skills,” calling him a “scum bag,” and “traitor.”

I’m not here to lament the degeneration of the 21st century fan. I’m not going to create some sort of outrage. Is it unfortunate? Of course. Is it worth manufacturing a controversy? No.

This is no different than the loudest heckler at a game, the one who won’t sit down, despite repeated warnings from arena security.

That fan has now adapted with technology.

I’ll be the first to defend the right of one to speak an opinion, whether that opinion is a popular one or not. That is the purpose of the “public square.”

Because these Twitter critics come out with every athlete’s decision and are such a small minority of Twitter users, the rest can push them to the fringe, roll their eyes, and say, “here they come again.”

So next time a major college athlete announces his transfer and is showered with tweets of displeasure, to put it nicely, start taking some screenshots, cement that speech in history, and combat it the old-fashioned way:

Pull back the veil of anonymity and allow those critics to make their case in the public square.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

  1. imforbigblue - Apr 14, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    I don’t know why ppl are so upset over this guy it’s not like he’s one of the best players out there. The kid was a back up not some stud. Let him play one year at muzzu who will be like 4th in the sec

  2. kingghidora - Apr 15, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    If you’re old enough to remember the CB radio craze you have seen this all before. Resentful punks mad at the world because they weren’t born with the looks and the talent and the girls see the net as their big chance to get even. But it’s life they hate and no matter how much bad behavior they try they will never fill that hate pit in their hearts. If you’ve ever talked to a mental health professional about their cases you’ll know that almost all of this stuff boils down to the fact that these guys can’t measure up in some important way (to their way of thinking) in their lives. They compensate by spending every nickel they can get their hands on for giant trucks and sports cars and they get hair replacement surgery and they have their stomachs stapled etc. etc.. They’re short, they’re fat, they’re bald and they have no talent that gets the girls to notice them. They never seem to get that everyone has talent in some way and that there are a lot of girls in the world and there are ways to make them notice you and none of them involve being an internet dweeb. If they had any sense they’d be using internet chat rooms where women actually participate and they might find that women can be attracted to lots of different men. I’ve seen so many people talking about how jealous they are of some guy in the crowd who has some gf that isn’t even all that good looking. I have to wonder what they think when they see photos of me with my wife online or whatever. They hate me for it to be plain about it. And trust me I’m no Don Juan. I just know what women like. Too bad more people can’t figure that out. We’d see a lot less baloney from net dweebs if they could only figure it out. Maybe I’ve been blessed but I’ve seen really good looking women with guys who seemed to have nothing to offer on the outside. There’s a trick to it. Don’t be a dweeb is the first rule.

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