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A's Suspend Minor Leaguer For Tweet

That's right, I'm talking about something that happened to the Oakland Athletics with no direct ties to Houston sports. Why even bring it up??

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Well, it sets an interesting precedent and it waters down the pro athlete even more. Let's deal with the first point..first. A's prospect Nick Krol was suspended indefinitely for a tweet of his last weekend. The offending tweet has been deleted, but it apparently included a "gay slur and other offensive language." In other words, it's probably exactly what the testosterone-fueled locker room sounds like. 

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The A's decided to suspend Krol, despite the fact he only has 90 followers and the message probably didn't get out very far. Of course, some of his followers are reporters, so there may have been a story, but instead, the A's struck quickly and put a lid on the matter. Considering his following and how only a small percentage of the populace has embraced Twitter, I wonder what the outrage over his comments would have been like.

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More importantly, this simply waters down the pro athlete even more. We already are bombarded with dry quotes about teamwork and the like with nothing new or interesting injected in post-game quotes most of the time. It's a fact of life now, since things like ESPN and the internet started breaking down every comment a player made for a national audience.

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Still, Twitter was a refreshing return to a time when players can speak their minds freely, giving fans a look at their personality without being filtered through a news story or context. We got to know the player in a very different way, even when they're doing it more for PR reasons, like Hunter Pence. My favorite in this respect is Austin Wates, who I am enjoying immensely on Twitter for his philosophical tweets and general attitude. If he ever makes the majors, I'm going to feel like I know him better than I do Bud Norris, and that's directly because of how open he's been on Twitter.

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The question, then, is whether incidents like this will shut down that openness by professional athletes. We're moving in a new direction, with a younger generation of players coming up who are used to Twittering constantly. They'll be in the major leagues in all sports soon and teams will have to come up with a way to monitor what they say. Will that interaction continue to be genuine? Or will Twitter go the way of the post-game quotes, turning flat and uninteresting?

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Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.