Illini basketball players Twitter dark; wisely avoiding haters and trolls



You may have wondered why no Illini basketball players have been tweeting lately. And it wasn’t because they were on a hot streak. Illini basketball won five in a row before blowing a second half lead to the #7 Michigan Wolverines. And none of the players took to Twitter afterward. Illini basketball head coach John Groce decided to keep his players of Twitter on February 6th.

I can’t say for certain when going Twitter dark ends, but I assume it won’t be until after the end of the college basketball season. And in my humble opinion, or IMHO in Twitter-speak, it’s a very good idea. Receiving 140 character expressions of hate and hostility led Illini leading scorer Brandon Paul (a member of the 1500 point club and 10th leading scorer in school history) led BP3 to post this:


#smartdecision BP made the right call don’t engage the trolls and haters. Illini basketball has had some BIG wins this year, and some head scratching losses. And this roller coaster of a year had riled up the emotions of a devoted fan base. #overreacting.

“I believe in freedom of speech,” Groce explained to the Chicago Tribune. “But you get off to a 12-0 start and social-media wise, it’s like these guys are rock stars. Then you don’t play as well, they’re scum. I said, ‘Fellas, that’s the way of the world. The reality is you’re not rock stars. You’re not scum. You’re somewhere in-between.’ I wasn’t sure we were staying level with social-media stuff.”

You can still follow all the regular Illini basketball official accounts, and the Fighting Illini athletics accounts, which are still active. Senior forward Tyler Griffey has a persistent online critic, and he intelligently took the high road in response.

Here’s his response:

Sure, Tyler Griffey often plays like a 6’10” shooting guard (reminiscent of Illini 7-footer Mike Tisdale before him), but there’s a proper time and place to express your frustrations over that. And one should do so in a class many, not by appealing to the lowest common denominator. But wait there’s more:  


 Again, this is the reason for the Twitter ban. How is this going to help the Illini make it to and win games in the NCAA Tournament? I’ve learned the same lesson with internet commenters on my articles- the less you engage the better.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter and Yardbarker

A Fulbright scholar, author and MBA, 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 (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.


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