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Sports figures have to start calculating the cost of a "tweet"
Commentator Terry Pluto says social media, especially Twitter, is a "wild west" in sports.

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
A tweet from Indians closer Chris Perez on April 14th got him fined $750 from Major League Baseball.
Courtesy of Twitter
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The growth of social media, especially Twitter, has had a huge impact on sports – for teams, players and writers. You have 140 characters to say whatever’s on your mind – with no filter – passing it onto potentially millions of people.

But it comes with a cost.

Indians closer Chris Perez was fined last week for a Twitter post following a game in which batters from both teams were hit by pitches. Long-time Plain Dealer Browns writer Tony Grossi was reassigned earlier this year and then quit after a tweet bashing the Browns’ owner. He thought it was a private post.

WKSU commentator and Plain Dealer sports writer Terry Pluto talks to Amanda Rabinowitz about the good and bad in sports figures and writers tweeting.

Terry Pluto talks about sports figures and writers on Twitter

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Terry Pluto talks about the Browns' 4th overall pick in the draft

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Some tweets cause issues for athletes

Instances of athletes running into trouble because of a tweet are numerous and well-documented.

“There’s one college team and one high school team I know where the players were using the N-word in their tweets,” Pluto said. And in one case, I mentioned it to the coach. He wasn’t even aware of it.”

“It’s 140 characters… You can be reduced to that if you do it wrong.”

Not all athlete tweets are bad

There are cases in which athletes use tweets to spread goodwill. Such was the case earlier this week after Browns wide receiver/kick returner Josh Cribbs was pulled over for driving 103 miles per hour on Interstate 71 in Cleveland.

He tweeted “Yes I was pulled over for speeding, going too fast, luckily the police were on the job. Wasn't going that fast the entire time obviously but wrong is wrong, gotta face the music just like anyone else:(“ and “Much Respect to the police officers who pulled me over! I will lead better on the road now as well as on & off the field!!!”

Pluto says fans and teams love these types of tweets.

“This is like you take this out if you’re the coach of a team and say ‘Look, this is what you do.”

Changing how sports fans get their news

Pluto predicts that at least one player in this weekend’s NFL Draft will tweet the news of their selection before the official announcement.

Twitter has also changed sports journalism. Pluto recalls a colleague who he believes was not cited on ESPN for breaking the news of quarterback Jake Delhomme joining the Browns because she did not tweet the news first.

“She didn’t get credit on ESPN because one of the ESPN reporters we believe saw her story, made a quick call, and tweeted it.”

Follow Terry Pluto @terrypluto and Amanda Rabinowitz @a_rabinowitz. Pluto says he does not tweet about what he has for breakfast, but Rabinowitz makes no such promise.

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