Like too much alcohol or anesthesia, Twitter tends to make you do the dumbest things.
Sports is a social-media shooting gallery, appealing to thoughtless lounge-act rants and hair-trigger emotions. If only there was some sort of sophisticated software in tweets that identifies idiocy and trips a buzzer or a warning light.
I mean, let's say you type, "Let's be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime."
Before you hit the send button, a prompt would pop up and say, "Are You Sure You Want To Tweet This, Fool?"
Nothing could save Pat Garofalo from himself.
Garofalo's moronic tweet on Sunday about the NBA would have melded into the billions of other tweets in the stupid bin, except that Garofalo is a state representative in Minnesota.
If Garofalo would have just stopped at, "Let's be honest, 70% of teams in the NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference," he not only would have steered clear of racist accusations, but at least been more accurate.
There might be spellcheck, but there's seldom any fact-check on Twitter. He wrongly referred to the league's "high arrest rate," but only seven players were arrested in 2013.
In full spin mode, Garofalo then told a TV station that he was surprised by the responses to his tweet — my favorite was, "There's more criminals in your profession than the nba, buddy" — and said it had nothing to do with the fact that most players are African-American. That's a tougher sell than long johns in Hawaii.
Garofalo said that his "increase in streetcrime" comment was aimed at the perception that pro athletes believe they are above the law.
He finally apologized, as did Hideki Matsuyama.
Matsuyama was reminded through Twitter that he was not above the law on the PGA Tour. Fellow pro Ian Poulter called him out after Saturday's round at Doral for leaving a significant divot in a green.
"Why should Matsuyama leave a crater in the green for others to putt over, or have to call to repair the damage. Idiot," Poulter tweeted.
Poulter could have simply addressed the matter privately with Matsuyama, saving him the public embarrassment. But then that's taking the club out of Poutler's hand, so to speak. Taking Matsuyama to the Twitter woodshed at the keyboard today is far more damaging and dramatic, akin to smashing a gnat with a bulldozer to the delight of Poulter's 1.6 million followers.
Everyone's entitled to their opinion, 140 characters at time and as fast as your internet service allows. For fans, lobbing grenades behind the safety of a computer screen and under an alias has made cyber-heckling easy and a never-ending irritant.
After Iowa forward Zach McCabe lashed back at snarky fans, coach Fran McCaffery made his players shut down their Twitter accounts.
"My overall impressions of social media are negative, for the very reason we just experienced," McCaffery told reporters. "It's very upsetting when you're getting attacked, and I think you can have the impression that the entire fan base is attacking you. And that's not the case."
You'll likely hear college basketball coaches attacking the perils of Twitter during March Madness.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has been on a relentless anti-Twitter campaign. He believes it has emboldened some fans to turn a tweet into a taunt at a game, saying, "When you tweet it, you feel like you can say it. I think you get a little bit more courage."
Izzo says players are under more pressure than ever — "around the clock" — and can't escape the Twitterverse when they grab their phones. "That phone has become like a drug," Izzo said. "We should phone-test them. ... I feel bad, and I feel bad for my own kids."
Izzo realizes there's little he can do when social media isn't, well, very social.