Notre Dame Football players discuss Twitter policies

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Twitter is one of the greatest inventions ever for a sportswriter. Is it also a blessing for Notre Dame football? Or a curse?

Twitter gives the reporter a chance to obtain legitimate quotes from players and coaches without actually having to be at the stadium. And sometimes the quotes are much more interesting than what you hear on gameday, because they haven’t been filtered. But to quote famous Notre Dame football fan Taylor Swift “trouble, trouble, trouble” can arise.

13 months ago, Notre Dame football DL Louis Nix (@IrishChocolate9) posted a tweet saying he may leave Notre Dame football and not return. That tweet caused a great deal of distraction for Coach Brian Kelly and his team, and it forced the coach to contemplate a new and stricter policy on what he deems “inappropriate” social media posts.

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A year later, Louis Nix has been tweeting a significant amount with a porn star named Emily Austin.

From the Ft. Wayne News Sentinel:

“Most teams are going to get to the level where it is a one-strike policy,” Kelly said. “You make a mistake, then you are off (social media).”

“We’re not going to go in there and ban it for everybody,” Kelly said. “But I think that we are at that point where we are probably going to go with the one strike. You get one shot and if you make a mistake with it, something is inappropriate, then we are probably going to deal with it.”

Fair enough. I think this policy would work, but if you’re going to initiate a policy that seems harsh, even Draconian to the concept of free speech then the ground rules should clearly be laid out. The players should all know what’s over the line and what’s not.

At the 2012 Blue-Gold Game, I asked the teams most visible, and high-profile players how they would define it. I started with former starting quarterback (and possibly this year’s QB1) Tommy Rees, who actually isn’t on Twitter.

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“Obviously guys know where the line is and they make sure not to cross it,” Rees responded.

Then I spoke with Andrew Hendrix, who could be the next Notre Dame football signal caller. You can find him (@NDHendy12)

“You really just got to use your brain and tweet positive things,” Hendrix said.

“Obviously, you got to keep team business out of it, but it’s a good way to connect with the fans, and hopefully we can do a better job with it because it’s fun to tweet and as long as we keep it under control, it will be a good resource to have.”

And then I asked Theo Riddick, a WR/RB. He doesn’t tweet that often, and his account (@riddick6) is protected. He told me the players know what’s wrong to say on Twitter.

“The policy in itself- you just can’t say stupid things,” Riddick answered.

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Finally Tyler Eifert, who was drafted #21 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2013 NFL Draft. You can find him at (@EiferTy80)

“You just got to be smart. We know what’s going to get people’s attention and stir things up, it’s just kind of obvious,” he said.

It’s more common sense than a stated/written policy.

“There’s no swearing, no derogatory comments toward the program and things like that. There’s no reason to be negative on Twitter, if you’ve got something negative, just don’t say it- don’t put it out there,” Eifert elaborated.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker

Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks), like him on Facebook

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