This past week, UNLV secured a verbal commitment from Goodluck Okonoboh (congratulations to both, as he is a great fit for the school and the style of play, and this can only help the program’s stature going forward).Â Not two minutes after his announcement, Okonoboh was bombarded with negative tweets from scorned and bitter fanbases.Â There was name-calling, cursing, and questions of his intelligence or that he was paid — none of that is called for, provable, or necessary.Â I cringe now when a popular or high ranked recruit commits, I try to not look at the tide of negativity that rises after, but it’s hard to ignore it.Â This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it seems the higher profile the recruit, the more inappropriate, mean-spirited, and hateful the messages are.Â Simply because a 16, 17, or 18-year-old KID chose to attend college at a school different than the one you root for.Â We should be lauding these kids for going to school, even if the respite is short.Â Even if you think it’s a mistake, just smile, move on, and wish them luck or, better yet, don’t say anything at all.
I know it is very easy to get caught up in recruiting: all of us college basketball fans get excited, elated, heartbroken, or bitter because a high-valued recruit didn’t choose us, but so what?Â It’s going to happen more often than it doesn’t that a kid picks a different school. These self-important wastes of bandwidth that have the nerve to tweet something negative towards someone who, firstly, they don’t know personally, and secondly, have no idea of their thought process and haven’t been privy to the research and work that went into making that decision.
A lot of times, these kids agonize about these decisions.Â They’ve have usually cultivated relationships during the recruiting process and a lot of times have grown very close with the coaching staffs and their families, and to have to call that coach and say no is not an easy thing.Â Why make that process more difficult by spewing your venom in their direction?Â Honestly, you make your own fanbase look foolish, hateful, and desperate, and believe me, the coaches at those universities are not pleased.Â They don’t need the program or brand that they’ve worked hard to build cast in a negative light.Â You do your own team a great disservice by looking like pissy little children throwing tantrums.
You would think that this sort of behavior would be limited to adolescents, but there are grown men angrily tweeting at children.Â Imagine it was your kid, your nephew or cousin.Â It’s definitely one of the more disgusting parts of college athletics and one that really shouldn’t exist.Â The Internet for all it has done for sports and bringing sports figures closer to their fans has also become a breeding ground for keyboard gangers; it gives a voice to those who really should probably not have one.Â People rarely realize the weight of their words and tend to toss them out there with little regard for the consequences or the feelings of others.Â If people would just utilize a little self restraint, a little common sense, and just keep their opinions to their friends and fellow tools, the Internet would be a much tolerable place.
Let’s be good representatives of our fanbases and keep it classy and let these kids do what they think is best for themselves and their families.Â It’s not even about you.