Stoops to Instate Policy to End ‘Ignorant Words’ Posted on Twitter

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:17 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Mar 21, 2011 3:15 PM CDT

See Stoops' Monday press conference in its entirety here

Layna Dewell
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

NORMAN, Oklahoma--The social networking and microblogging service known as Twitter has changed communication as we know it and one head coach is taking notice.

Not only has Twitter made it easier than ever to send messages to thousands of ‘followers’ but it also sends out what the tweeter is doing or is thinking to more people than they may realize.

It’s hard to believe that a 140-character message could cause so many problems, but it has, and Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops is now doing something about it.

On Monday, when asked if he has a Facebook or Twitter policy instated with the team, Stoops immediately replied, “No, but I’m going to have one.”

“Guys that obviously don’t know what they’re doing need to have it taken away, ” said Stoops. “It’s hard to believe that they think don’t get it, they still think they’re at east handkerchief high school where no one cares and that’s not the case.”

In late September, OU receiver Jaz Reynolds was suspended from the team indefinitely after a comment he posted on his personal Twitter account.

On Tuesday September 28, a campus shooting took place at the University of Texas at Austin and just after news of the incident was reported, Reynolds tweeted “Hey everyone in austin, tx???kill yourself #evillaugh.”

Later on that day, Reynolds then tweeted, “Everyone in austin, tx disregard that last tweet?.y’all will mess around n do it lmao.”

That day, Texas sophomore Colton Tooley fired four rounds from an AK-47 near the Littlefield Fountain near 21st Street and Whitis Avenue in Austin before he ran upstairs to the sixth floor of the Perry-Castaneda Library and took his own life.

One day later, Reynolds was suspended indefinitely and head coach Stoops said this in a statement regarding the matter:

"Because of his insensitive remarks on Twitter relative to Tuesday's tragedy in Austin, we have suspended Jaz Reynolds from our team indefinitely. Our rivalry with Texas will not come at the expense of dignity and respect. We have great concern for what happened in Austin and I am incredibly disappointed that someone connected with our team would react so callously. We have taken immediate action and I hope by doing so have illustrated how seriously we view this matter."

Several other OU football players have Twitter and until now there has never been a policy in place for the networking site.

The harm that is caused through these type of instant messages can be explained in the Twitter website itself where it states: “Twittering is also a less gated method of communication: you can share information with people that you wouldn't normally exchange email or IM messages with, opening up your circle of contacts to an ever-growing community of like-minded people.”

Not a good combination when things are shared like what Coach Stoops refers to “ignorant words and word choices.”

Stoops said he doesn’t know much about the Twitter site, but says “ones that don’t know what they’re doing will have a policy and take it away.”

When asked if he ever replies to the players tweets, Stoops said “I still don’t know anything about it?.I reply to them on the phone or in person.”

What exactly the policy will include, well that’s up to the team, but I will go out on a limb and say I bet the team won’t be tweeting about it.

Hear more about what Bob Stoops had to say at the spring practice press conference here.