Sports “experts” tend to have anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of Twitter followers. (Photo courtesy of Jay Bilas on Twitter)
Social media in sports is absolutely huge now. Almost all of the heralded “experts” from the major networks like ESPN, Fox Sports or CBS Sports have all kinds of followers and constantly tweet about a vast array of topics.
For instance, over the course of this past Saturday, March 1st, ESPN College Basketball Analyst Jay Bilas was tweeting between his time on College Gameday and performing his duties during the Kansas-Oklahoma State game at Gallagher-Iba Arena, about a lot of events happening throughout the day, including the stand-off between Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin and one of the referees. (For Jay Bilas’ Twitter account, click here)
Sometimes, the tweets from these “experts” are even quoted in articles written in any medium from online news articles to blogs and sometimes, other tweets. Twitter is used by some people to break news. For instance, during the Summer 2013 when New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder, the Patriots announced that they had released Hernandez over Twitter. Sometimes recruits announce their commitment to a school over Twitter. In other instances, blogs use tweets to convey an opinion they may have. (For an example of this, click here)
Regarless of the use, there is no denying that sports now have a certain “twittersphere” about it.
Manziel poses with the Heisman Memorial Trophy after winning the award for the nation’s top College Football player as a Freshman out of Texas A&M (New York Times).
We all remember a young basketball player out of Toronto named Andrew Wiggins right? Well, he was ranked as the top recruit in the country by ESPN, whenever he wasn’t even in the United States. Many “experts” were expecting the Freshman to possibly win Big 12 Player of the Year or even lead the Kansas Jayhawks to a National Championship. Then something happened, Wiggins did not play as expected against Louisiana-Monroe, only putting up 16 points.
“Well that’s only one game,” you say? Against UTEP, who has not been in the NCAA Tournament since 2010, Wiggins only had 6 points, 9 on the road at Oklahoma and a grand total of 3 points at home against Oklahoma State, who was picked in a tie atop the Big 12 pre-season by the media. (Click here for Wiggins’ 2013-14 stats)
There are other examples in other sports as well. For instance, Johhny Manziel could not meet media expectations after winning the Heisman Trophy as a Freshman, even though he suffered an injury during his Sophomore season. However, with Texas A&M’s win total declining from 11 to 9, many critics blamed Manziel because his numbers were not “high enough.”
My point is this, we overhype too many athletes. Society and the media both start to talk about how great players are at a certain level of play, without having seen them take the field yet. Or, after winning an award or two, we expect even better out of them. Sometimes that just is not possible. Unfortunately, this is a trend that may continue, hurting athletes’ draft stock because of the “he’s not that good” attitude from one bad game.