IOWA CITY, Iowa – The latest example of think before you tweet is Texas A&M receivers coach Aaron Moorehead.
He cost his team some serious talent on the recruiting front because of something he tweeted on Wednesday.
Moorehead sent out multiple tweets Wednesday night in which he complained about kids not being loyal and accountable. He also used the hashtags #selfish and #allaboutme.
It wasn’t just what Moorehead said on Twitter that caused a stir, but also the timing of it.
His first tweet came shortly after 5-star quarterback Tate Martell had backed out of his commitment to Texas A&M.
Moorehead tried to do damage control, saying his tweet wasn’t about Martell.
But by then, it was too late.
It was too late the moment Moorehead hit the tweet button. At that point, there was no taking back what Moorehead said on Twitter.
He issued an apology on Thursday, saying that he needs to do better and that he will.
But that still doesn’t erase the damage already caused by what you hope was a momentary lapse in judgement by the 35-year old Moorehead, who played receiver at Illinois and for five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.
In addition to losing Martell, who is considered arguably the nation’s top dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 senior class, Texas A&M also lost heralded receiver Mannie Netherly as part of the fallout. He backed out his commitment on Thursday, announcing it on Twitter.
Amazingly, Moorehead continued his twitter rant despite the damage it had caused. In another tweet, he accused society of being too sensitive, saying “Y’all boys soft.”
Whether he meant it or not, it was perceived that Moorehead was calling out Martell and some other recruits.
I couldn’t even imagine an Iowa assistant coach tweeting something that insensitive and provocative.
Unlike like his players who are prohibited from being on Twitter, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz allows his assistants to use Twitter. Ferentz doesn’t want his players to be exposed to or tempted by the drama that unfolds on Twitter on a continual basis.
Ferent trusts his assistants because he expects them to behave like adults.
Moorehead should look in the mirror because this controversy started with him being too sensitive. He should’ve acted like an adult after Martell de-committed instead of being petty and vindictive.
The recruiting process consists of naïve and impressionable teenagers who are trying to make a decision that will impact the rest of their lives.
It’s frustrating, and maybe even infuriating when a kid who you courted for months suddenly backs away as Martell did to the Aggies.
But as a coach, and as an adult, you have to rise above the temptation to criticize on social media.
And apparently, it helps to recognize your recruits, which brings up another drama that happened this week.
Florida athlete Bruce Judson backed out of his commitment to Ohio State because Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer apparently didn’t recognize him on campus or remember his name.
I could see why that would bother Judson and hurt his pride. He had put his faith and trust in Meyer, and yet Meyer didn’t even recognize him.
We forget that beneath all the muscle, skill and bravado are kids who are sensitive and intimidated by the changing world around them.
This isn’t to suggest that Judson has a sense of entitlement because he seemed more upset by a lack of respect than anything else. He had been committed to Ohio State for quite a while and felt that he should’ve been noticed by the head coach.
But it’s easy to see why some recruits would feel a sense of entitlement, considering how they’re coddled and promoted these days.
The best recruits are put on a pedestal at a very young age. Many of them are pampered and spoiled by coaches, recruiting gurus and fans. They’re led to believe that everything comes easy, but then some struggle at the first sign of adversity.
That’s why so many college football players and men’s basketball players now transfer on a regular basis. Instead of trying to fight through a difficult decision, they bolt to another school with the promise of more playing time.
I’d still like to think that a majority of recruits and coaches handle the recruiting process the right way.
And hopefully, Moorehead has learned from his mistakes.
How can he expect the teenagers that he recruits to be mature and responsible when he fails to live up to those standards?
The rise of social media has changed the recruiting landscape in both good and bad ways. It’s easier to connect with recruits, but also easier to say the wrong thing to a huge audience.
As a former NFL receiver, Moorehead has instantly credibility with recruits.
But now he also has baggage, and only himself to blame for it.
We also saw a Twitter controversy happen close to home on Thursday as Iowa State Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard issued an apology in response to a tweet by the Cyclone football coaching staff that was an attempt to be creative on Cinco de Mayo, which was celebrated on Thursday.
"Happy Cinco de Mayo," read the tweet.
Featured were pictures of 1,000-yard rusher Mike Warren, starting quarterback Joel Lanning, and starting receiver Allen Lazard superimposed on the main characters from the satirical 1980s movie “Three Amigos.”
But instead of being funny, the tweet apparently offended enough people to where Pollard felt that he needed to apologize.
It’s easy to say lighten up or quit being so sensitive, but what is considered funny or creative to one person might be offensive to another.
Part of me would like to defend the Iowa State coaches because what they did seemed harmless and sort of funny. But I certainly don’t speak for everybody.
So even in this case, think before you tweet.