CadChica’s SSM Digest: April 2013

Nearly everything you could ask for in sports transpired in the month of April.

One event, however, nobody would ever ask for and we can only hope we’ll never see or hear about again.

As April draws to a close, let’s take a look back at some of the sports/social media moments in my SSM Digest.

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When I set about to select the April stories for this month, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” in sports/social media crept into my thought process. Not because of the movie (which was before my time), but because it felt like a smorgasbord of sports news happened in April…good, bad and most definitely ugly.

It’s not that there weren’t “good” things that happened. Negative stories seemed to reign in April, whether it was allegations of abuse at Rutgers, referee turmoil in the Pac-12 conference, Twitter hackings, Twitter fights and the ugliest story of the month, the Boston Marathon bombings.

Mile 25 marker on the MBTA overpass on Beacon Street at the 2005 Boston Marathon (Courtesy: Pingswept)

Mile 25 marker on the MBTA overpass on Beacon Street at the 2005 Boston Marathon
(Courtesy: Pingswept)

On Monday, April 15, 2013, life and sports intersected in an unimaginable way in Boston, MA. It was a surreal moment in today’s social media age. News spread quickly. According to Sports Illustrated, this was the first tweet on the bombings that rocked Boylston Street as well as the entire country:

Eloquent words have already been written on the people affected, the city of Boston and even the bombers themselves. What was meant for evil, brought out the good in people. The heroes:

Social media, particularly Twitter, was the go-to resource for news. This is both a good and bad thing. The vast amount of information provided an exorbitant amount of factual news as well as rumors, instantly. Access to the Boston police scanners on the internet, to a certain extent, made matters worse for law enforcement. But, with one tweet, order was restored [Note: RTd over 77k times]

Upon reflection, many tweets and posts showed how people felt about the tragedy and its aftermath. Contrast what transpired in the social media realm with the event itself. We wanted instant knowledge, instant justice. Instant, instant, instant.

But the event itself is not about instant. Pardon the cliché, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about endurance. It’s about venturing forward when everything within tells you not to.

Marathon. Endurance. Forward.

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While victims and their families, including those who lost loved ones in the bombings, face a different kind of marathon for the rest of their lives, the rest of us have moved on. At least on the social media, things were “back to normal”. 

It was only one week after the bombings before we had a prominent sports account hacked. Two, in fact, but only one really mattered.

Sepp Blatter hacked tweetCorruption has long been entwined in the soccer/football fabric. Allegations and rumors run rampant when it comes to current FIFA president, Sepp Blatter and the “business” of football. The beautiful game is sullied by the seedier side of the sport. As you would expect, all tweets have been deleted. The tweet above and a series of successive tweets thereafter on Blatter’s account as well as the FIFA World Cup account are fully captured in this story on Philly.com.

If there was any doubt as to the corruption rumors that swirl around Blatter and FIFA, one only needs to read the tweet below which perfectly captures sentiment from around the world:

https://twitter.com/AlbaEspana/status/326378790429270021

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Few stories could reach the magnitude of impact like the Boston Marathon did on social media. But one story, and one tweet, did just that yesterday.

With that tweet sharing a story, the name Jason Collins became permanently embedded in the minds of America. Collins became the first player from one of the “big 4” sports to come out as gay.

Reaction on Twitter was without a doubt, supportive. There were a select few who chose to be vulgar. But for the most part, positive commentary reigned.

Johnny Weir FB post

Billie Jean King FB post

But there was one tweet, in particular, that caught my eye. It wasn’t so much what it said about Collins but what it said about any dissenting opinion whether in sports or just life itself. Something to think about for all of us when wanting “open communication or dialogue” about any topic:

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Top Moments In April SSM

  • April 1: April Fool’s Day – Let the fools of the Pac-12 stand up. 

The running joke that is Pac-12 officiating seems to have been proven true when this Ed Rush story broke. Rush, the head of Pac-12 officiating, was alleged to have promised special benefits to any of his referees who “rung up” Arizona’s Sean Miller during the Pac-12 tournament. Perhaps this would not have been much of a story had Miller not been given a technical during the tournament. But, he was. And the Pac-12, not to mention the NCAA, had a mess on their hands:

https://twitter.com/mcuban/status/318866027201044482

Still waiting for the “get worse” part, Mr. Cuban. Ed Rush, however, is history as he resigned his Pac-12 post three days later.

  • April 2: The day after April Fool’s Day had no shortage of sports/social media news. The day began with New York Yankees’ second baseman, Robinson Cano, firing his powerhouse agent, Scott Boras and signing with new agency, Roc Nation. Roc Nation is the new venture from rap and music mogul, Jay-Z. As Roc Nation’s first client, Cano gets the privilege of this:

Okay, not really. But one needed a sense of humor before this story broke:

Rutgers basketball coach, Mike Rice, found himself in hot water after the video above surfaced on Outside The Lines (original video has now been set to private). The prevailing opinion on Twitter was overwhelmingly indignant at Rice’s behavior.

However, on April 3rd, when Rutgers fired Rice, there were a few holdouts to the old-school approach of coaching or against the mob-mentality that can sometime happen on social media:

Chipper would backtrack…ever-so-slightly…on April 4th:

  • April 6-8: March Madness ends in April. The calendar may say April but Final Four weekend is still, in my book, part of the excitement that is “March Madness”. Social media was very much a part of the weekend. This infographic from readwrite.com tells the story of the four teams social profile. Unsurprisingly, Louisville lead the way, thanks in no small part to the Kevin Ware story:

pvmg-march-madness-infographic-

On Monday, April 8th, Louisville defeated Michigan in an exciting championship game. I captured the social moments on Storify here. Now I could be wrong, but I believe this was the first biggest sporting event that showed use of Twitter’s Vine app, as demonstrated below:

  • April 13: In January, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant joined Twitter. On April 13th, Bryant took his social media to the next step by joining Instagram.

Say what you will about Bryant, but sharing his recovery beginning with the MRI picture, is a brilliant move in the fan-athlete relationship. Since that first picture, Kobe has tweeted a few other injury-related tweets including this one today

But it was during the Lakers’ first playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, April 21, that his social media popularity skyrocketed:

Bryant offered in-game commentary on his Twitter feed like the one above, which was retweeted over 21k times. The next highest RT’d tweet for Kobe? #RealTalk:

Unfortunately, Kobe didn’t follow that up with more Twitter commentary. His tweeting became a story in itself and thus,

Tweeting games were out but he’s still Instagramming his recovery process, including this one from today, April 30:

  • April 28: Kobe wasn’t the only Laker making news with his tweets. A week after Kobe’s tweet-fest, and LA was swept aside by the Spurs, Magic Johnson had his own mini-rant on Twitter:

  • April 25-27: It wouldn’t be a recap of the month without at least an NFL reference. The 2013 NFL Draft took place this past Thursday-Saturday. Although this year’s draft didn’t have the cache’ of last year’s big names (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III), it was intriguing for the fact that it wasn’t…intriguing. Kansas City had the #1 pick. It was all but a certainty that an offensive lineman would go #1. But how exciting is that unless you’re the draft pick’s family? It may not be a glamorous (exciting) position on a football team, but you can’t have a championship team without them.

If you wanted excitement, then no, this may not have been the draft for you. The most excitement you could ask for was the infamous “green room”. Who would be the last player left that attended the draft in New York? As it turned out, it was West Virginia’s Geno Smith.

Smith attended the draft, without a certainty that he would be drafted in the first round. He wasn’t. And his green room experience did not go unnoticed by another player familiar with being “last”.

Classy.

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There were plenty more stories that went untold in this month’s digest (Tim Tebow but by the Jets, death of NFL legend Pat Summerall,). So it seems only appropriate to end this month on the classy tweet of Aaron Rodgers and the class of Boston Bruins fans:

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CadChica Sports

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