Rule No. 1 of Twitter: always be mindful that you could be one tweet away from going viral for the wrong reasons. But you know what rule No. 2 should be? Rule No. 2 should state that, inevitably, you will tweet something ultimately regrettable. Whether you’re a hyper-active Twitter user or an indifferent one, the human condition is imperfect. Odds are, you’ve tweeted something you wish you hadn’t.
I know I have. Back in college, I subtweeted (which is the Twitter version of talking about someone behind their back) some Drake song lyrics about a girl I was seeing at the time. Nothing offensive, nothing harmful. Just, immature. Regrettable. The girl didn’t deserve it and I embarrassed myself. Lesson learned.
Also while in college, I indulged in adult beverage consumption a time or two. Hey, big deal, right? Hell, we encourage college students to have fun. The Best Four Years Of Your Life. But does that mean a Twitter play-by-play of one random, typical Saturday night during my college career was at all necessary? Probably not. Some things are better left unshared. Lesson learned.
I’m all about using Twitter as a showcase of one’s personality, because it can be a great tool for that sort of thing. But there’s inherent pitfalls to expressing oneself so freely, especially at a younger age. Take Warriors forward Draymond Green, for example. Back in 2010, Green used a homophobic slur to characterize LeBron James.
I’m not here to absolve a young man for using inappropriate, childish language in a public forum. But I’m also not going to condemn Green, either. Would that tweet — remember, from 2010 — ever have come to light if Green’s present-day Warriors weren’t taking on James’s current-day Cavaliers? Would that tweet ever surface if fans weren’t bored by the week-long layoff before the Finals begin?
I don’t know Green personally, and I’m not trying to read into his personality based off a tweet or two. But I’m also not going to sit here and act holier-than-thou. Kids say dumb things on social media all the time. I was one of those kids — hell, I’ll probably be one of those kids again.
We don’t need a judicial or psychological examination on the ‘intent’ of Green’s tweet. Let’s be honest, you can find much more vile and despicable language or imagery on Twitter any given day of the week. That doesn’t make what Green said any less offensive, but it does beg the question of how much should we care?
I personally don’t care much, if at all, for a college sophomore failing to read the future. At that point in Green’s life, his basketball playing ability didn’t guarantee a one-way-ticket to the NBA. Additionally, go look at the responses to any of James’s tweets, and you’ll find gobs of homophobic language and heaps of insensitive remarks. Everyday people constantly escape the standard of scrutiny we’re applying to Green.
Look, once I became a certain age, I removed certain words out of my vernacular. I learned to become more conscious of the way in which I speak. Words, removed from context, are just that: words. And context gives meaning and life to words. But it took me a long, long time to figure that out.
Things I’ve tweeted in the past serve as a reminder of the person I was. I like to think I’ve grown up considerably. Maybe Draymond Green has, too. Or maybe he hasn’t. But at the end of the day, I’m not trying to give Green my sympathy nor am I trying to downplay the use of derogatory language. What I’m trying to say is that judging a man by a few tweets is the 2015 translation to judging a book by its cover.