OLYMPICS: Twitter Games. We’re Reading Too Much Into Tweets, but Serena Knows to be Careful

Top: Hope Solo, Lolo Jones; Bottom: Serena Williams, Venus Williams

REPORTING FROM THE LONDON OLYMPICS

LONDON (July 31) — Serena Williams is smart enough to figure this out, experienced enough to hear warning sirens. With her unfiltered thoughts, she has inspired people at times, embarrassed herself at times. She has traveled the world, lived in public half her life. She’s 30 years old.

So despite having nearly 3 million followers, Williams, the sports world’s Queen of Twitter, recognizes that this isn’t the time to start talking off the top of her head.

“I’ve been really careful about saying things in social media,’’ she said Monday when I asked her about athletes getting kicked out of the Olympics for racist and insensitive tweets. “I haven’t been on my account too much. I would be devastated if I got kicked out of the Olympics.’’

These are already the Twitter Games. The Solo/Lolo Show has dominated US Olympics talk. Soccer player Hope Solo went on a Twitter rant against Brandi Chastain. Hurdler Lolo Jones made an insensitive joke on Twitter about the US and guns.

And on Monday, a second athlete — neither are Americans — was kicked out of the Olympics for racist comments on Twitter. Should athletes be kicked out of the Olympics for racist tweets?

Please read the rest of my column at FoxSports.com

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About gregcouch

I can talk tennis all day long, and often do. And yet some of the people I talk to about it might rather I talk about something else. Or with someone else. That’s how it is with tennis, right? Sort of an addiction. Sort of a high. I am a national columnist at FoxSports.com and a FoxSports1 TV insider, and have been a columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times. In 2010, I was the only American sports writer to cover the full two weeks of all four majors, and also to cover each of the U.S. Masters series events. I’ve seen a lot of tennis, talked with a lot of players, coaches, agents. I watched from a few rows behind the line judge as Serena rolled her foot onto the baseline for the footfault, a good call, at the 2009 U.S. Open. I sat forever watching a John Isner marathon, leaving for Wimbledon village to watch an England World Cup soccer game at a pub and then returning for hours of Isner, sitting a few feet from his wrecked coach. I got to see Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling joke around on a practice court on the middle Sunday at Wimbledon, placing a small wager on a tiebreaker. Djokovic won, and Soderling pulled a bill out of his wallet, crumpled it into his fist and threw it at Djokovic, who unwadded it, kissed it, and told me, “My work is done here.’’ And when Rafael Nadal won the French Open in 2010, I finished my column, walked back out onto the court, and filled an empty tic tac container with the red clay. I’m looking at it right now. Well, I don’t always see the game the same way others do. I can be hard on tennis, particularly on the characters in suits running it. Tennis has no less scandal and dirt than any other game. Yet somehow, it seems to be covered up, usually from an incredible web of conflicts of interest. I promise to always tell the truth as I see it. Of course, I would appreciate it if you’d let me know when I’m wrong. I love sports arguments and hope to be in a few of them with you here. Personal info: One-handed backhand, serve-and-volleyer. View all posts by gregcouch

One response to “OLYMPICS: Twitter Games. We’re Reading Too Much Into Tweets, but Serena Knows to be Careful

  • JohnJM

    With the modern 24-hr-a-day news cycle, the media keep getting more and more shallow and stupid. Almost anything can be news. I think many in that arena actually contribute to the “zero-tolerance” society, as you put it, by shamelessly calling out minor gaffes and blowing things up, just to have their name on an item. And now people get in a lot of trouble for things that are no big deal.

    With that said, my biggest gripe is that too few gaffe victims stand their ground; they just roll over and take it undeserved. I wish more celebs would grow a backbone; a trend of pushing back might eventually weaken the gotcha culture.

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