As a longtime fan of the Jets first, it’s not really with much pride that I’m helping to break this story, but I still think it needs to be done. Ugh, today really sucks.
For sports fans, one of the greatest strengths of Twitter is the ability to remove barriers between fans and players.
For sports fans, one of it’s greatest failings of Twitter is the ability to remove barriers between fans and players.
According to a Jets fan, today David Clowney sent a direct message to him Monday morning telling him to “kill yourself dude.”
Note: We’ve asked the team for a response, and have been told that it will be addressed, but no comment yet. We will provide it in this space once we get it, but will be on a plane later tonight so please bear with TJB.
It began early this morning, when Clowney tweeted out that “Even [through our] tough times there are SOME Jet fans that still support us and show us Love. Thank you.” It was a backhanded compliment, to which AlexL__ a New Jersey based Jets fan on Twitter frustrated with Clowney’s statement and the way the team was playing, replied on Twitter to Clowney.
@DavidClowney Quit worrying about fans. Boo hoo fans arent happy when this team talks super bowl and performs like [redacted]. Go win [a]nd shut up
According to AlexL__ this was the reply that he received from Clowney via a private message. I asked Alex to send me a screen capture of the messages and here’s what he sent. Note: Reverse chronological.
Ironically, noting that “we run what’s called” shows signs of progress from his earlier history of his use of Twitter when he got in the Rex Ryan doghouse by chirping about his playing time on Twitter.
Without getting into it (I don’t have time to dig out his tweets), Clowney’s pushed the boundaries more than Bill Simmons with his use of Twitter last spring, trust me. Again, I am taking Alex at his word, but that Clowney allegedly did this is not that much of a stretch to me based on past actions.
We’ve watched pretty closely how the fans and players interact on Twitter, and until now, as far as we know, for the Jets players and their fans, there’s been minor incidents here and there. For example, this morning Darrelle Revis took a fan to task for questioning his intentions by soliciting “ladies only” to “massage” him this week.
Beyond that, one thing I’ve seen crop up from time to time has been when players make statements to their fans about not supporting the team regardless of its performance. Some players seem of the mindset that fans are there to cheer, not jeer. David Clowney has been part of that dialog with fans in the past and it looks like he took it to the next level today, for whatever reason.
I asked Alex why he responded to Clowney in the first place, and here’s what he said, verbatim.
I responded to his comment about the fans because I have been behind this team the whole year and it hurts to hear a player complaining about fans. This team seems to be worrying to much about everything else but performing on Sundays. They shouldn’t be worrying about the fans because we have always been there and quite honestly if he thinks their play warrants all of the fans to be happy, he is mistaken.
After getting whooped by the Patriots a player shouldn’t be complaining about fans. This team has been talking the whole year about how good they are and they haven’t shown it. I just want to see this team win and I don’t think it will happen if players are worried about fans not being happy. If I was a player on the team I wouldn’t be happy so why is there a problem when fans aren’t happy?
Alex has an excellent point about players focusing their attention to the right things. From the perspective of a fan and I don’t blame him one bit for his confrontation of Clowney.
With that said though, from a journalist and “fly on the wall”, the problem is that this sort of back and forth between fans and players will only diminish the Jets front office’s Pro-Twitter attitude. One of the best things about the medium is that it allows for interaction, and in some cases, honest dialog with athletes. Based on this though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of that policy and players use of the medium start shifting and going towards the typical cliche statements that generally get into print.
UPDATE: David updated his Twitter account around 7:35pm tonight
UPDATE: 8:41pm – It appears David’s account was hacked. Here is a message from Jets beat writer, Rod Boone: