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J.J. Watt: Read each tweet 95 times before sending

July 18, 2015 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
NFL star J.J. Watt offered up some social media advice this week while attending the Gatorade Athlete of the Year awards.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt encourages kids to be responsible on social networks. | Photo: Jeffrey Beall, Wikimedia Commons
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt encourages kids to be responsible on social networks. | Photo: Jeffrey Beall, Wikimedia Commons

Networks like Facebook and Twitter can be as harmful as they are helpful, and as Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema pointed out earlier this week, recruits have even lost scholarship opportunities based on what they post.

Watt had this to say during an interview with MaxPreps:

“Read each tweet about 95 times before you send it. Look at every Instagram post about 95 times before you send it,” Watt said. “A reputation takes years and years and years to build and it takes one press of a button to ruin it. Don’t let that happen to you. You’ve done so much work, you’ve put in so much effort. Don’t let one moment ruin your entire life because you wanted to be funny or you were mad or because you had a mood.

“If you use it properly you can use it unbelievably. You can interact with your fans and share with the world what you’re doing. Just be smart about it.”

This is sound advice that all coaches and parents should share with their children — athletes or not. Kids tend to make hasty decisions, like post about a friend that made them angry or respond to someone who upset them. Sure, you can delete your words after the fact, but something kids never quite understand is their posts are never truly deleted. They’re archived and can be found by anyone who knows how to search for them.

We’ve published guidelines for coaches and athletes on social media, and they can be found here. The first step to curbing problems in your program is making sure everyone understands what’s right, what’s wrong and the repercussions for missteps.


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