Last night, Fox Sports Live tweeted the above picture regarding Rick Pitino's comments dogging social media from a recent press conference. So, it let us all jump to our conclusions and make a lot of Rick Rolled jokes and what not. The Courier-Journal took quotes from Pitino's weekly news conference and posted them:
“I think anyone who reads social media that’s in sports is not all there,” he said.
Pitino called those who dwell on what’s said by anonymous Internet users the “greatest class of underachievers who live on the Internet with social media.”
That’s mostly because, he said, players aren’t paying attention to what they should.
It is easy to get all riled up over comments like these when approximately 50 gajillion people use some form of social media and could easily take offense to those comments. But there is some additional nuance to Pitino's remarks. The Big Lead took the initiative on adding the original context to Pitino's remarks and figuring out what the coach actually meant and whether or not his comments were taken out of context and ran with for the sake of retweets. (Shocking! no one ever does that!)
The actual quote was in reference to Louisville guard Russ Smith dealing with racism via social media, which is absolutely terrible, and so yes, in regards to that, ol' Rick is exactly right. Athletes should absolutely ignore internet trolls insulting them, and people who turn to Twitter to attack people for whatever reason are certainly not using social media for what it was intended. Interestingly, FS Live only later tweeted the link to Pitino's comments in full.
These comments from Pitino more closely resemble what Tom Izzo has said about Twitter in recent days. Yes, you can fault Pitino for painting everyone who's on social media with one broad brush as, reading between the lines, trolls who still live in their mom's basements. If anything, he could have chosen his words much more carefully because there's a mountain of great information and purpose to social media. But like Izzo, we can't fault Pitino for wanting to protect his players, even if these coaches don't see the benefits of social media beyond the cloud of trolls and terrible people.
It's just unfortunate that we have to have this discussion on a regular basis, since this issue is not going away any time soon.