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With a single tweet, Isaiah Thomas exposed the stupidity of sports news in 2017 02.21.17 at 2:41 pm ET
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All it took was one emoji to expose the soul-sucking nature of covering sports today, where grown men and women with college degrees are forced to chase after inanity.

In a cryptic tweet Monday, Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas shared an eyeball emoji. Chaos ensued, with assistant general manager Mike Zarren saying roughly 20 reporters contacted him to ask whether the team was acquiring a new player. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.

The journalists who reached out to Zarren were doing their due diligence. In 2017, a player’s social media activity can serve as a harbinger of major trades or free agent signings. Last summer, Thomas tweeted out the same two-eye emoji before the Celtics inked Al Horford to a five-year contract.

Though it’s possible Thomas was sending out a covert signal –– the Celtics also followed Carmelo Anthony on Instagram Monday night, along with Taylor Swift and Nike –– he may have been trolling the media. That appears to be what Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving was doing last week when he told reporters he thinks the earth is flat. In today’s hyperactive news cycle, seemingly anything a famous person says is considered news, regardless of how absurd it is. Even though the science definitively says the earth is round, Irving’s comment was perhaps the biggest story during NBA All-Star Weekend.

“I think that there’s just so much, I guess — I don’t know if you can even call it news — there are so many real things going on, actual, like, things that are going on that’s changing the shape, the way of our lives,” Irving said Saturday, via ESPN. “And I think it sometimes gets skewed because of who we are in the basketball world, and, ‘Oh man, what does he actually think? Oh, no, I don’t like hearing … the world is flat, or he thinks the world can’t be round.’

“You know, I know the science, I know everything possible — not everything possible — but the fact that that actually could be real news, that people are actually asking me that — ‘It’s a social phenomenon. What do you think about it? Are you going to try to protect your image?’ I mean, it really doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. The fact that it’s a conversation? I’m glad that it got people talking like this: ‘Kyrie actually thinks the world is flat.'”

Sure enough, Thomas’ possibly innocuous tweet sparked headlines on countless sports blogs. We content curators are parasites, prepared to cultivate page views from meaningless drivel. It’s part of the feeding frenzy.

This phenomenon is nothing new. People have long been interested in what celebrities say and do. In today’s world, stars are more accessible than ever before. It makes sense for websites to report on nearly every detail of their social media activity. Thomas’ emoji may have meant absolutely nothing, but now, it’s a part of the Celtics trade deadline narrative. It doesn’t matter whether it actually is indicative of a forthcoming trade. He typed it with his thumbs, and that’s good enough.

Next thing you know, we’ll have a president who’s capable of controlling entire news cycles by firing off insane and erratic tweets. Oh, wait…

Read More: Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Twitter,
Twitter harassment, unfortunately, is part of the job 01.17.17 at 4:25 pm ET
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It’s five days before Christmas, but nobody on Twitter seems to be in the holiday spirit. “[Alex Reimer] just ruined my drive in,” somebody tweets at me at 6:50 a.m. “His only talent is homosexuality. Is that a talent? Nope.”

Within minutes, another stranger chimes in. “That is partially the case. Gag reflex?”

Since I started hosting on Kirk & Callahan three months ago, I’ve faced an unfathomable amount of vitriol from listeners on social media. In order to cope, I channel the sage wisdom of our next president, Donald J. Trump: “They’re just words.”

In many instances, the rules surrounding public and private citizens are different. This is true in the courts, where the threshold for committing defamation against a public person is far greater than a private person, or on the street, where it’s perfectly OK to mob strangers as long as they qualify as “celebrities.”

The same norms apply to social media. When I go on the radio and call Tom Brady a coward, I expect to experience blowback. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s below the belt. But that’s the reality of cyberspace. Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever for trolls to torment people online. All it takes is a couple of clicks, and suddenly they’re at the top of their targets’ mentions, invading computer and smartphone screens. It’s important to remember this is nothing more than perceived intimacy. The creators of these mean tweets are far more likely to be high school students located hundreds of miles away than reputable members of society.

Last week, SB Nation’s Charlotte Wilder published a piece about how the Patriots have a Trump problem. The premise is, many Patriots fans have abandoned their team due to Trump’s friendships with Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft. Though that’s a fascinating hook, the story only quoted one person on the record who said she could no longer watch the team. The evidence was anecdotal at best.

Over the next couple of days, Wilder received a bevy of criticism from enraged Patriots fans. Some of it, disgustingly, took a sexist turn.

“Today was exhausting but the support and kindness I received from friends and strangers restored the faith in humanity that others took away,” Wilder wrote last Thursday. “The internet as a woman can be ugly, but I’m not shutting up anytime soon. I appreciate you.”

On K&C Tuesday, Kirk Minihane said he thinks it’s shallow for Wilder to insinuate she was disparaged because of her gender.

“The predictability of writing a dumb story and then hiding behind it like she did, though, I knew this was so obviously going to happen,” he said. “She took some heat, which she deserved, and then I knew she was immediately going to play the ‘people are being mean to me because I’m a woman’ card. I knew that was coming.”

In response, Comcast SportsNet’s Trenni Kusnierek, who was sitting in as the third host, said she understands why Wilder was so distraught.

“They’re not just mean tweets,” she said. “One of these: ‘This was the worst story ever, besides BuzzFeed. I would say you get cancer, but yikes, the face on you, honey.’ Then he goes on to say, ‘I hope this mother of yours gets cancer.’ Is that really necessary?”

It’s not necessary, but unfortunately it’s a part of the job –– especially after writing a provocative piece. Take a look at Dan Shaughnessy’s mentions once in a while. There’s plenty of venom to go around.

Last year, “Just Not Sports” released a PSA that highlights the harassment women sports journalists face online. In it, actors read mean tweets directed towards ESPN’s Sarah Spain and Chicago-based broadcaster Julie DiCaro, both of whom have been outspoken about this issue.

What the video doesn’t mention, however, is the reach of the people who tweet vile and sexist comments at Spain and DiCaro. From my experience, the majority of Twitter trolls have faceless avatars and less than a dozen followers. Their irrelevance doesn’t make their actions right, but it puts it in perspective. They don’t matter.

In a recent conversation with me, Doris Burke, who’s now one of ESPN’s lead NBA analysts, echoed those sentiments. She said she’s tried to block out the noise to the best of her abilities, instead focusing on gaining respect from her peers.

“The players and coaches have been nothing but accepting of me from the very first time I broadcasted their games,” she said. “I’ve had a couple along the way, including an NBA official, who admitted to a little bit of skepticism when they first saw and heard me on the game. But this person quickly followed that with, ‘But then I listened to what you had to say.’ And I realized, ‘She knows what she’s talking about.’”

Perhaps one day, people will stop making derogatory comments online. But until they do, the best tactic is to ignore the trolls. They’re not worth the attention.

Read More: Twitter,
Kevin Youkilis’ brother rips Boston, Bobby Valentine on Twitter 06.25.12 at 12:37 pm ET
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While Kevin Youkilis‘€™ turbulent season with the Red Sox came to an end Sunday with a standing ovation from the Fenway faithful, Youk’€™s brother celebrated his trade to the White Sox with a string of tweets lashing out at Boston and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine over the weekend.

Scott Youkilis, a chef in San Francisco, wrote on Saturday that he was “glad that #teamyouk may be changing sox real soon. #Chicago is better town anyways!”

Scott Youkilis would later tweet that “Bobby V is a joke” before listing several reasons why he felt Chicago is a better city than Boston.

Read More: bobby valentine, Boston Red Sox, kevin youkilis, Rumor Mill
Report: NBA will investigate Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire for homosexual slur to fan on Twitter at 12:16 pm ET
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One week after both Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields received NBA Social Media awards, sources told the New York Post that the NBA plans to investigate the authenticity of a homosexual slur recently tweeted by their Knicks teammate Amar’€™e Stoudemire.

After receiving a harshly worded tweet from a fan telling him he needed to step it up next season, Stoudemire allegedly sent a direct message to the fan calling him a homosexual slur.

“You better come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season, dead[butt],” the fan tweeted.

Stoudemire’€™s alleged reply was: ‘€œ[Expletive] you. I don’€™t have to do anything [slur].’€™’€™

The fan forwarded the photo of the tweets to Deadspin.com, which later reported that Stoudemire ultimately apologized to the fan, though only after the story had been published.

‘€œI apologize for what I said earlier,’€ Stoudemire allegedly messaged. ‘€œI just got off the plane and had time to think about it. Sorry bro!! No excuses. Won’€™t happen again.’€

Stoudemire’s spokesperson did not return several messages from the Post seeking comment on whether Stoudemire actually sent the message.

Read More: Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks, Rumor Mill, Twitter
Falcons WR Roddy White criticizes NFLPA via Twitter 06.19.12 at 11:04 am ET
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Falcons wide receiver Roddy White took to Twitter on Monday afternoon and expressed his displeasure of the NFL Players Association.

Writing in response to NFL executive Andrew Brandt‘€™s tweet regarding the deal the NFLPA made with the NFL this summer, White sounded off, and even went as far as to praise heavily criticized commissioner Roger Goodell.

‘€œDon’t know why we complaining we did this to ourselves,’€ White wrote. ‘€œI applaud roger godell for brokering a hell of a deal and I blame nflpa for failing us.

‘€œWhoever is the head of the baseball union that’€™s who we need to hire they never have problems. Ok they have had problems but not on the same issues that where [sic] problems before they signed a new cba as a union…the nflpa fixed none of our real problems…Sold us a great dream about how good the deal was I didn’t even want to sign that card because I knew the deal we signed was terrible.’€

This isn’€™t the first time White has made controversial remarks via Twitter. Last month, White tweeted that former players are ‘€œkilling our game’€ for suing the league for hiding information about the dangers of concussions from them.

Read More: NFL, NFLPA, Roddy white, Twitter
Magic’s Gilbert Arenas fined for twitter comments 06.08.11 at 11:27 pm ET
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It only took a few weeks on Twitter for Gilbert Arenas to find himself back in the NBA’s doghouse. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the league fined the Magic guard for his recent comments on Twitter.

The report did not specify which comments Arenas was punished for, nor how much money he was fined. You can take your best guess.

Arenas responded to the fine on Twitter. “Yes, the [NBA] has fined me … for being [too] awesome … I cant believe I got fined … how do I explain this to the lady at the bank?” he wrote. “Or I could just write a check and if there’s a lockout just cancel the check it and maybe they will forget … I think that will work.”

Read More: Gilbert Arenas, NBA, Twitter,
WEEI.com’s Thing of the Year: How Twitter changed everything 12.30.10 at 1:29 pm ET
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What can be said in 140 characters?

Well, apparently enough to cause a shift in how the media, professional athletes and sports organizations go about their everyday business.

(For those counting, these last two sentences accounted for 147 characters without spaces.)

Twitter, the social media site that launched in 2006, has crept its way into the sports world and caused a massive explosion.

Beat reporters now have to keep their smart phones in the palm of their hands just in case breaking news needs to be reported to the masses. Front offices all over the country, and in every business sector for that matter, have had their ability to control the message of their respective organizations almost stripped away. Players can share what they ate for breakfast, what shoes they are wearing and what feelings they are feeling before and after games to millions of fans with a click of a button.

On a local scale, Shaquille O’€™Neal caused a mob to form in Harvard Square with a simple tweet. Kevin Garnett and Charlie Villanueva got into a he-said, he-said battle due to a tweet from the Villanueva camp.

Adrian Gonzalez was coming to the Red Sox. Then he wasn’€™t. Then he might be. Finally, after all the speculation and Twitter buzz, there he was on Yawkey Way donning a Red Sox home jersey.

And maybe the biggest Twitter story in New England history came on an accidental tweet by ESPN’€™s Bill Simmons about Randy Moss being traded to the Vikings. Now Randy Moss is so far off the grid that maybe even Twitter can’€™t find him. Well, that’€™s probably not true ‘€” that sentiment might only be for Titans quarterbacks.

These stories are just a minute percentage of the news that is being spread across Twitter on a daily basis. Whether it’€™s LeBron James or Tiger Woods tweeting about who knows what, or Colts owner Jim Irsay poking fun at Rex Ryan‘€™s alleged foot fetish, things are happening on Twitter.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adrian gonzalez, Chad Ochocinco, LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal
Twitter helps sell out Patriots-Chargers game 10.23.10 at 9:31 am ET
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It was widely assumed that the San Diego Chargers would not sell out Sunday’s game against the Patriots due to recent struggles by the Chargers. Fanhouse reports that the Chargers’ team Twitter account asked fans to buy tickets to avoid a local television blackout. The Patriots responded with their own account. “Hey Patriots fans on the West Coast, if you want to see the Pats play the Chargers, go to Chargers.com to buy tickets,” the tweet read.

After the tweet, all remaining tickets were purchased within a couple hours, with half of them purchased by Patriots fans. The game will be played in San Diego at 4:15 ET.

Read More: New England Patriots, Rumor Mill, San Diego Chargers, Twitter
What’s your Sports Twi-Q? 09.02.10 at 12:51 pm ET
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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to ‘€œName that Tweet’€–the game show where everybody’€™s a loser (including the host)! Either an athlete or a celebrity posted the following 140-character thoughts on their twitter account over the past couple weeks. It’€™s your job to figure out who produced these Shakespearean efforts.

1. ‘€œIn the last year I’ve spoke at Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, and Wharton Schools of Business.. Today, I debate Skip Bayless on ESPN !!!’€

Lance Armstrong or MC Hammer?

I can see how you get the two confused. Lance built Livestrong into one of the world’€™s most powerful fundraising efforts, slapping his organization’€™s moniker on everything from t-shirts to tea kettles. I’€™d be shocked if they didn’€™t make Livestrong thongs. Meanwhile, MC built himself into one of the world’€™s most powerful fund-blowing efforts, amassing $13 million in debt and filing for bankruptcy. So, naturally, they’€™re both perfectly suited to shape the minds of the world’€™s brightest business students.

Answer: Click here.

2. ‘€œSo.. caught up on Trueblood las nite.. Not a fan of how they get u hooked with the 1st 2 seasons then bring on a barrage of homosexuality’€

Todd Herremans or Chamillionaire?

When I’€™m watching True Blood, I’€™m often wondering, ‘€œWhat do Todd Herremans and Chamillionaire think of this episode?’€ I can picture them now: the 6-foot-6, 321-pound Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman from Michigan and the 5-foot-nothing, 100-and-nothing rapper from Houston cuddled up on a couch ‘€¦

‘€œExcuse me, Chamillionaire, can you please pass the popcorn?’€
‘€œAbsolutely, Todd. Would you perchance like a refill on that soda pop?’€

Answer: Click here.

3. ‘€œI got 5k for whoever see @ihatekatstacks and slap the shit out her pigeon face a**. Real talk. U f***ed with the right one now’€

50 Cent or Carmelo Anthony?

Fifty has been shot at least nine more times than I have. He’€™s made his bones with upbeat lyrics like, ‘€œIf the roof on fire, let the motherf***er burn.’€ And his Twitter rants make Mel Gibson seem like Mr. Rogers. You’€™d think Melo would steer clear of threatening women, considering he’€™s entering a contract year. But I wouldn’€™t put it past anybody who’€™s tried to transport their weed in a backpack through an airport.

Answer: Click here.

4. ‘€œim gonna be ok just need 2 rest but i wanted all of u 2 know i never want to let any of u down. ever. i really appreciate all the kind words’€

Justin Bieber or Serena Williams?

Even with the bum ankle that kept her out of the US Open, Serena Williams would beat the hell out of Justin Bieber, right? She’€™d pull her ‘€œI swear to God, I’€™m f***ing taking this ball and I’€™m shoving it down your f***ing throat’€ routine. After all, Bieber had to reschedule a recent concert because of throat trouble. True story.

Answer: Click here.

5. “Last night was stupid… 35k at Haze… Totals 50k something the whole day. Damn!! Going to the pool again today … Gotta relax!”

Marcus Jordan or Brody Jenner?

They’€™re both heirs to ‘€¦ well ‘€¦ air. Marcus is the son of Air (Michael) Jordan, the greatest basketball player ever. Brody is the son of airhead (Bruce) Jenner, the greatest procreator of reality TV stars ever. Both kids blow more money in a day than most people make in a year. I smell a Tom Brokaw book: The Greediest Generation.

Answer: Click here.

Thanks for playing, folks. If you got four or more wrong, you’€™re a Twimbecile. If you got four or more right, you’€™re Tweinstein. And that’€™s enough with the terrible Twitter puns. So long everybody, and, as Bob Barker said, ‘€œHave your pets spayed or neutered!’€

Read More: 50 Cent, Brody Jenner, Carmelo Anthony, Chamillionaire