Social Media and it’s toxic ability.

By: Brian Puffett

Technology is a beautiful thing.  What we once thought was never possible is now at the tips of our fingers.  The ability to access news and updates when it comes to our favorite teams or athlete are now just a click away.  Is that a good thing?  Sure it can be, but realistically it has turned into a toxic situation.  What was once created for positive reaction has turned into an outlet to freely spew vitriol all over the place.  Sure some of this is deserved in the right setting, but where is it not?  Lets go back in time a little bit and see how we got here.

College recruiting has turned into a big business with many outlets providing scouting reports on athletes all over the world.  It wasn’t that long ago that this was a foreign concept.  Not recruiting as that’s always been a staple of athletics.  The best athletes on the best teams win and the only way to produce that is to recruit.  So how did they do that before all of this great technology, Before the Nike opening camps and elite 11?  It honestly wasn’t that much different than it is now.  Coaches from each staff would travel all over the country looking at kids.  Sure you may get a phone call from a high school coach giving you a heads up on a kid, Or maybe show up with some film sent by a school hoping you will see what they have to offer.  But really what has changed?  What made it such a big business?  that’s a simple answer.  The device you are reading this on is the main reason!

It’s not hard to look up information on an athlete today.  For the athlete and the schools looking into them that’s a great thing.  There is a dark reality when it comes to this though and it’s created a very toxic situation.  What was once conceived as a tool for schools and student athletes to communicate on a mutual platform has turned into a bridge for fanatics to spew vitriol at ease.  It’s not uncommon now to see a post by an athlete stating how thankful they are to receive a scholarship offer from school A.  Most fans from school A are happy with this and usually will post of that.  Where does school B stand or how about School W?  Long ago it wouldn’t have mattered to anyone but the athlete, however now it’s a totally different situation.  As If it wasn’t hard enough to chose a school you have fans from all walks of life providing their “expert” opinion on the subject.

Now obviously the sarcasm should be noted.  The opinion of you or I on where little Johnny is going to play his college football doesn’t matter! It  won’t ever matter and shouldn’t.  When a kid is making his or her decision to drastically change the life of not only themselves but that of their family it should be a time of joy.  But technology has destroyed that.  We now have grown men who have drastically failed at most of the goals they set in life judging teenagers who they’ve never met and will most likely never encounter.  As a former athlete and avid fan I take great interest in recruiting.  It’s an exciting time for these young athletes to make their dreams come true!  While I enjoy the access we receive to witness these decisions I really wish it was still like it was before.  Mostly so these kids and their families can enjoy the process and make the correct decision, but also because it would take us back to a time when spoiled adults didn’t have a platform to belittle a kid for doing what is best for them.  Remember this and take it as you will.  Being a fan doesn’t give you the right to judge.  What may be entertainment for you is life to a student athlete.  If you are willing to teach your own children to get up when they fall it should be any different in this circumstance.  If a kid choses another program wish them well and move on. 

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