Tiger Woods, other athletes get into technological tangles

Aug 26 2010 - 9:24pm

Now that Tiger Woods is officially divorced, I think I know his first order of business:

Party in Vegas with the Jordan brothers!

By now, you've probably heard the story of University of Central Florida basketball players Marcus and Jeff Jordan, the sons of multimillionaire NBA legend Michael Jordan, tweeting a few days ago about their wild weekend in Vegas.

"Last night was stupid," Marcus Jordan wrote on his Twitter account. "... 35k at Haze (nightclub). ... Totals 50k something the whole day. Damn!! Going to the pool again today. ... Gotta relax!"

That particular tweet was removed from Marcus' Twitter account amid the controversial reports that the Jordan brothers went through $56,000 in Vegas in one day even though Marcus is not yet 21 years old.

I'm not going to go holier than thou on you and destroy the kid for underage partying in a Vegas nightclub. There was a time when I, too, was a young lad with a full head of hair and a fake ID. And I also refuse to blast the Jordan brothers for having a filthy rich dad who can afford to finance his kids' one-day, $56,000 Vegas party binge.

The junior Jordans spend $56,000 on one day of partying? Heck, Daddy Jordan spends $56,000 in Vegas on one hand of blackjack.

What gets me in this farcical Facebook world of incessant tweeting and electronic excreting is how athletes continue to embarrass themselves on the World Wide Web. It used to be what happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas, but that was before Twitter. Now athletes, many of them rich and famous, cannot resist the urge to show their loyal "followers" or "friends" just how rich and famous and sexy and funny they really are.

The problem is, unlike the old days when the traditional media often filtered athletes and kept them from embarrassing themselves, social media is unfiltered. Athletes can get their message out without the traditional media -- and sometimes that's an issue. Even in today's competitive media world, I've seen examples where writers or broadcasters have cleaned up an athlete's language or omitted an embarrassing quote altogether so as not to make the athlete look like an insensitive jerk or a complete buffoon.

Whether it's arrogance, ego, entitlement or just plain stupidity, athletes aren't nearly as adept at editing themselves.

Just Tuesday, Chad Ochocinco, the flamboyant receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, was fined $25,000 for tweeting during a recent preseason game.

Two weeks ago, LeBron James sent out a baffling juvenile tweet from his self-aggrandizing "KingJames" Twitter account in which he warned his critics, "Don't think for one (minute) that I haven't been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer!"

Or what about the pornographic message that originated from Boston Celtics' star Ray Allen's Twitter account a few months ago? Allen quickly claimed somebody hacked into his account and sent out the naughty message.

Or what about Buck Burnette, the University of Texas offensive lineman, who was booted from the team a couple of years ago for posting a racist joke on his Facebook page?

This doesn't even count the athletes who take completely nude pictures of themselves (see Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden), e-mail them to girlfriends they're trying to impress, and then express shock and remorse when the pictures show up on the Internet. Last summer, the website MediaTakeOut.com claimed to have nude photos of Magic center Dwight Howard, but Howard's management firm claimed the photos were doctored fakes.

We could go on and on, but you get the point: Athletes are killing themselves, and iPhones and Blackberrys are their weapons of choice. Even the Tiger Woods sex scandal can be traced to telecommunicational suicide.

Let's face it, it wasn't the traditional media that brought down Tiger, it was his technological carelessness. As a longtime member of the traditional media, I think I am qualified to say that sportswriters and broadcasters were comfortably content asking Tiger about his birdies and bogeys, not his babes and bimbos. If not for Tiger's electronic trail of sext messages and voice mails, he'd probably still be married today.

But that's all in the past.

Tiger's divorced now, and you know what that means?

Party in Vegas with the Jordan brothers!

But, fellas, remember this rhythmical rule of thumb:

You go to Vegas to enjoy the glitter,

It's not a place to tweet and Twitter.

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