Rick Pitino, the successful and well-known Louisville basketball coach, claimed this past Wednesday on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike show that he believes social media “poisons the minds” of athletes. He goes as far as not allowing his team to tweet, to protect their minds of course. He wants his players to read more, and learn how to communicate face to face.
Pitino stated that his team uses about 4 hours a day on social media. As an athlete follower on Twitter, I’d say he’s probably about right. And when you have another job to be doing, it can be important to stay focused. So I can see where he’s coming from.
John Calipari, Kentucky basketball coach, on the other hand allows his players to tweet, and has said (with no disrespect) that he believes Pitino and Izzo don’t like social media because they don’t understand it and personally use it. Calipari says that the most important thing is just to turn their usage into a positive experience. As long as they behave properly, there should be no issues; and that’s why he brings in professionals to teach them the do’s and don’ts.
My favorite line from John: “What we are trying to tell those kids [is], Hey, you build your brand or you break your brand down. For anyone to say [about social media], ‘Don’t do it … it’s crazy.’ I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I’m gonna say I side with John in this debate. What do you think?