Last week, Rashard Mendenhall killed his reputation while costing himself some cash by sending out some ill-informed and ill-timed tweets. This isn’t the first time a professional athlete has gotten into hot water for careless social media diarrhea, which has some wondering if it’s really a good idea for these guys to be on Twitter and Facebook in the first place.

From Mark Madden of the Beaver County Times:

When the NFL labor dispute ends, the Steelers should: Bar players from social networking. No Twitter, no Facebook, nothing of the sort. No tangible good can come from it. Only stupidity.

I love Twitter. I use it every day. It’s a great tool for both disseminating and obtaining news. I would argue that it educates significantly more than it pollutes.

That said, I agree with Madden.

From an NFL team’s perspective, players tweeting usually do more harm than good. It’s rare we see a tweet from an NFL player get praised, because the majority of player tweets are ego-enhancing drivel. Avid fans might enjoy reading the minutiae of players’ lives, but I couldn’t care less.

That’s why I follow zero players on Twitter, despite the fact I’m an NFL blogger. I find that 99 percent of what these guys say pertains to what they’re eating for lunch or something funny their pets are doing. I don’t care. The other one percent — the stupid/crazy/controversial stuff — will inevitably be retweeted by someone I follow.

I realize that Twitter can be a stellar marketing tool, and that’s why I’d fully support its use by fringe players on fringe teams in fringe leagues (I’m looking at you, UFL). But does anybody actually believe that NFL teams are gaining fans because of tweets from their players?

Of course not. People follow Mendenhall because they’re Steelers fans; they aren’t Steelers fans because they follow Mendenhall.

For a team like the Steelers, Twitter does nothing but open the door to potentially embarrassing situations.

Madden’s right. No tangible good can come from it.

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