When will professional athletes realize that Twitter and Facebook and social media are not their friends? They simply refuse to understand that pressing send is not going to work out well for them. It may seem like posting 140 words will not be that big of a deal, but that is rarely the case. The New England Patriots are finding that out with Brandon Spikes after the linebacker tweeted another controversial and homophobic message.
“I’m homophobic just like I’m arachnophobic. I have nothing against homosexuals or spiders but I’d still scream if I found one in my bathtub!” Spikes tweeted.
Spikes would say it was a joke, although many of his followers criticized him, saying that he is supposed to be a role model. Spikes responded “PEOPLE !!!! It’s a joke … seriously a JOKE !!! Chill out.”
But players need to understand that what they may feel is just a joke is not going to be perceived the same by the general public. First off, anything homophobic is not going to be seen as a joke nowadays, regardless of the context. Second, regardless what the subject matter may be, reading a tweet or a post on Facebook or an email is made more difficult by the fact that it is in writing, and therefore harder to figure out the tone of the message. It is the same with text messages. You cannot tell how a person really feels without listening to their voice or seeing their face.
Either way, this is not the first time that Spikes has tweeted a controversial message on Twitter, although it is certainly the most offensive. While it is different, the Toronto Blue Jays suspended Yunel Escobar three games for a homophobic slur that the shortstop wrote in silver on his eye black.
It is very likely that the Patriots will fine Spikes, although we may not ever even know, as they keep most things private and deal with matters internally without publicizing any penalties or repercussions.
But this is a different case. This is not a player missing a meeting or talking poorly about officiating. This is something that the Patriots may have no choice but to make a public issue, and they could even consider suspending Spikes for a game, although it is not likely.
Still, considering the subject matter and all of the anti-bullying steps taken today, Spikes could be facing some sort of discipline from New England.