MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Two Miami Dolphins players learned the hard way to ‘think before you tweet’ after social media fumbles following the NFL draft.
Dolphins safety Don Jones was scolded after comments he made on social media about the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft.
Jones tweeted “OMG” and “Horrible” after St. Louis Rams draft pick Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend on national TV. The tweet was taken down a short time later.
According to the team, Jones has been fined an undisclosed amount and excused from all team activities until he undergoes and completes educational training for the comments.
The Dolphins dealt with another social mishap when pro bowl center Mike Pouncey posted his reaction after the team drafted Ja’Wuan James. Pouncey tweeted: “great pick I can’t wait for our gifts he’s getting us lol.”
Pouncey was identified as one of the culprits in the Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito bullying scandal that embarrassed the league and drew nationwide scrutiny of locker room culture in the NFL.
In response to Pounceys tweet, Dolphins General Manager Dennis Hickey said it was a “Lighthearted comment taken out of context. We talked with Mike and he was good with that, understands it. Social media is a great tool to reach our fans for the positive but you just have to make good choices with that.”
Florida International University Professor Dionne Stephens says this is a teaching moment for anyone who uses social media.
“This is going to haunt these guys 50 years down the road,” said Dr. Stephens. “The message is part of their image, of how we think about them, whatever their real intention of the message was it doesn’t matter, this is now part of who they are.”
Dr. Stephens says posts are permanent and could ruin your reputation and career. She suggests thinking before you tweet.
“Even when I’m upset about a comment I wait 10 minutes before I send anything out there,” said Dr. Stephens. “People are just saying something off the cuff and not really thinking how can someone else interpret what I’m saying and what are the implications of it?”
In response to Jones’ controversial tweet he issued the following statement: “I want to apologize to Michael Sam for the inappropriate comments that I made last night on social media. I take full responsibility for them and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment. I remember last year when I was drafted in the seventh round and all of the emotions and happiness I felt when I received the call that gave me an opportunity to play for an NFL team and I wish him all the best in his NFL career. I sincerely apologize to Mr. Ross, my teammates, coaches, staff and fans for these tweets. I am committed to represent the values of the Miami Dolphins organization and appreciate the opportunity I have been given to do so going forward.”
Dolphins Coach Joe Philbin also had something to say about Jones’ comments, saying in a statement, “We were disappointed to read Don’s tweets during the NFL Draft. They were inappropriate and unacceptable, and we regret the negative impact these comments had on such an important weekend for the NFL. We met with Don today about respect, discrimination and judgment. These comments are not consistent with the values and standards of our program. We will continue to emphasize and educate our players that these statements will not be tolerated.”
After the draft on Saturday, May 10th, Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said he was made aware of Jones’ tweet.
“I was disappointed in those comments,” Hickey said. “That’s not what we stand for as an organization. The draft weekend is the culmination for so many players of their lifetime achievement of their dream to achieve their goal. For Michael Sam, for all the other players, it’s such a great celebration as they begin their future.”