Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: Paul George, Larry Bird and Twitter

I apologize for being so late in getting around to this, but I’d like to publicly thank Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Noah Glass for creating Twitter back in 2006.

Fellas, you’ve changed my life and the lives of millions and millions of people around the world. We can now get access to breaking news as it’s breaking. We can follow people who are funny, smart, crazy, thoughtful and, unfortunately, dumb.

It’s sometimes – more often than it should be – professional athletes who are dumb on Twitter.

The latest example is Indiana Pacers standout Paul George, who misguided tweets about the situation involving suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice have created an issue with George’s boss and Pacers general manager Larry Bird.

Thank goodness, Bird is not on Twitter. I don’t know what I’d do if he joined the Twitterverse; I believe my head would explode. In fact, of the seven billion or so people in the world, Bird would probably be the least likely to be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any social-media site.

God love him.

George, though, is a Twitter guy with almost 900,000 followers. He’s made 16,600 tweets, or thereabouts, not including the Rice tweets he deleted after the fire created by his Rice tweets, interpreted by some as being too supportive of Rice or not strong enough against domestic violence, started to burn.

According to news reports, Bird has had a discussion with George. And he released this statement:

“Paul George’s tweets from earlier were thoughtless and without regard to the subject of domestic violence and it’s seriousness in society. We have talked to Paul to strongly express our displeasure and made it clear that the NBA and the Pacers’ organization will not condone or tolerate remarks of this nature. Paul understands that he was wrong and why his tweets were so inappropriate and is very apologetic.”

Two of George’s tweets were particularly questionable:

“I don’t condone hittin women or think it’s coo BUT if SHE ain’t trippin then I ain’t trippin.. Lets keep it movin lol let that man play!”

“If you in a relationship and a woman hit you first and attacking YOU.. Then you obviously ain’t beatin HER. Homie made A bad choice! #StayUp”

George, a two-time NBA All-Star, is likely to miss much or all of the 2014-15 season after suffering a leg injury during a Team USA scrimmage last month.

It’s too bad he’s using his down time to make such ludicrous and inciting comments. But when we have too much free time on our hands nowadays, Twitter is at our fingertips.

Unless you’re Larry Bird, who probably had to be told what Twitter was.

God love him.

The bottom line here is that athletes – and everyone – must be responsible with an iPhone or an Android in their hands. It’s too easy to tweet something you’ll later regret.

Our world now revolves far too much around Facebook “friends” and Twitter “followers.”

I’m pretty active on these social media sites myself. That’s not something I’m necessarily proud of, but social media sites do have their positives. They’re great places to connect with people and to share information and pictures and the like.

Too often, though, we share our biases and prejudices and our lack of enlightenment. We need to be more careful about that.