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July 17, 2012

Twitter ban in place for FSU players



Don't expect to see any tweets from Florida State football players in the near future.

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher told Warchant.com Tuesday that he has banned the use of Twitter for his players indefinitely. While Fisher didn't identify a specific incident that sparked the ban, tweets earlier this month by sophomore cornerback Tyler Hunter were likely a major factor in the decision. Quoting lyrics from rapper Lil Boosie, Hunter made reference to a line about killing cops. While the tweet in question was in the context of a song, that wasn't apparent from when Hunter tweeted it.

Hunter's string of tweets were picked up by sports blogs around the country.

"Twitter is a privilege. When you represent an organization you have to represent it very well or we don't represent it," Fisher told Warchant.com. "When we are responsible enough to deal with it, we'll deal with it (return to Twitter)."

Fisher said that he had to interrupt his vacation to inform his players to stop all activity on Twitter.

"They have to be very smart, they have to learn," Fisher said. "They just don't understand the ramifications of things. They don't realize how global those things are."

Hunter's Twitter account has since been deleted. Warchant.com couldn't find any FSU players who have tweeted (as far as we can tell) since July 11. However, some players have still been active on Facebook.

This isn't FSU's first foray into a ban on tweeting. Following a 35-30 loss to Wake Forest in October, FSU players went silent on Twitter. In his Monday news conference following the loss, Fisher said that the ban was put in place in a players-only meeting. Quarterback EJ Manuel called it a "joint effort" between players and coaches.

Prior to the Wake Forest game, then-freshman offensive lineman Bobby Hart tweeted about 30 minutes before kickoff. After the loss, several players including cornerback Greg Reid were inundated with negative and offensive tweets from other Twitter users which even referenced family members.

"Me, I don't think (social media) is smart," Fisher said in October. "Tell me a benefit for getting on it? Because the only thing coming back is negative and they read all the stuff that people say. I told them, I said "Be careful, be careful on that stuff. And don't listen to it and don't reply back."

Within a couple of weeks, FSU had players gravitated back to the social media site.

Warchant.com first spoke with Fisher about the challenges involving college football players and social media last July. At that time, Fisher said he had considered a ban on social media but fought the urge because he wanted to allow his players to enjoy the privileges of a normal college lifestyle as much as possible.

"It's ridiculous because you can't be a kid anymore. You can't be a student. Everything is magnified, taken out of context think if every student in this university had to live like they did?" Fisher said.

"Part of growing up is venting, getting mad, you've got to understand those situations. Kids aren't perfect," he said last year. "We want to chastise these kids for being perfect - they're more perfect than the politicians, then Wall Street, then our presidents half the time with all the things that they've done. I mean, we want to hold these kids to a higher standard than we hold those people because of (social media). It's crazy, but it is part of it, so we make them cautious of it every day."

Fisher declined to say how long the Twitter ban will continue but didn't totally close the door on restoring privileges at some point in the future.

"When they learn to do it right they will be (allowed back on) and then they can come back on," Fisher said Tuesday. "Until then they won't be."

The players officially report on Aug. 5 with the first day of practice scheduled for Aug. 6.



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