Feb 02, 2011, 06:32AM

Twitter Could Doom the NFL Players Union

The Trolls of Professional Football.

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There's a showdown on the horizon for the NFL and its players union. The current collective bargaining agreement will expire in March and both sides are digging in and flinging the rhetoric. The owners clearly have the upper hand in negotiations as they shrewdly negotiated television contracts, the league's main source of income, that pay them regardless of whether or not there are games played in 2011. The only chance the players have of negotiating a favorable CBA is to remain united with their brethren.

Maintaining player unity may be nearly impossible in the age of Twitter. NFL players have made a near daily habit of posting idiotic comments on their Twitter accounts. Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens have made Twitter buffoonery as much a part of their game as short arming passes over the middle. The Ravens’ Ray Rice tweeted about getting out of a speeding ticket by signing an autograph for the police officer that pulled him over.  

The darling of HBO's Hard Knocks, Jets CB Antonio Cromartie, has stopped fathering illegitimate children long enough to sling arrows at fellow players, league and union officials. Just a few weeks after calling Tom Brady an asshole, Cromartie had a tweet-off with Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck. In typical Jets fashion Cromartie went over the top and threatened to punch Hasselbeck in the face.  

When Bears QB Jay Cutler was sidelined with an injury in the second half of the NFC Championship game players from around the league went into a frenzy questioning Cutler’s toughness, desire and manhood. Even NFL Network Analyst Deion Sanders chimed in questioning Cutler's heart. It's a bit ironic for Sanders to question the heart of another player considering the next tackle that Sanders makes would be his first. I loved PrimeTime but no one shied away from contact like Neon Deion. Sanders questioning the heart of another NFL player is like Kevin James mocking my caloric intake.  

The Cutler firestorm raged for days fueled by idiotic comments from players like Maurice Jones-Drew, Darnell Dockett and others. In today’s media culture, everyone is eager to be first but no one seems to see the value in being right. The tweets about Cutler were hasty and misinformed, but isn't that why Twitter exists?

I see the usefulness of Twitter and follow about 15 prominent sports writers. I don't care that Jason Whitlock is “Doing tha dang thang” or give a crap about Jason LaCanfora's snow removal efforts, but I do like getting up-to-the-minute news and rumors. I don’t follow any professional athletes, though that may change in the next few weeks as we get closer the NFL's impending lockout. My guess is players will begin tweeting information regarding the CBA negotiations, slinging arrows at ownership and making some comments considered insensitive by the masses. Hundreds of frustrated unemployed millionaires in their mid-20s with nothing but time on their hands and itchy Twitter fingers could be the undoing of the NFLPA. By the way, if there is a lockout I think the Versus network should take the T. Ocho show on the road and have the two malcontent wideouts travel across country in an old Cadillac to set a Guinness record for number of strip clubs visited in a four-week period. It would surely be more entertaining than the Pro Bowl, or any game involving the Cardinals.


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