Every once in a while, the benefits of fan interaction with players on social media get flipped on its head and become a real nasty scenario. Unfortunately for Zach McCabe, he became the subject of today’s Twitter tailspin.
Following Iowa’s 79-74 loss at the hands of Wisconsin, there were some irate Hawkeye “fans” who took to Twitter, expressing their concern regarding the difficult afternoon the senior forward had in the losing effort. Particularly, people were not pleased with Coach Fran McCaffery’s decision to draw a play up for #15 in the game’s waning moments—a decision that ultimately proved fruitless as McCabe’s three point offering fell well short of the hoop.
Evidently, McCabe had enough of the ire, a scene that has taken place quite often this season. After fouling out without registering a point him the ballgame, McCabe lashed out on his Twitter account, which has subsequently been placed under lock and key by the host party.
As aforementioned, this is far from the first time McCabe has dealt with the Black and Gold doubters in recent weeks. Just Friday, McCaffery responded to the Des Moines Register about an angry caller on his Wednesday radio show, who criticized his senior forward,
The guy’s going to score 900 points and get 500 rebounds, and (the caller) is trying to rip the kid on my radio show. That’s not going to happen, not on my show. I don’t care if the guy … I was this close to saying, ‘You know what? Don’t preface what you’re getting ready to say by saying, I’m a big Hawk fan.’ No, you’re not. No, you’re not. Go root for somebody else. I don’t have time for that guy.
One of the best aspects of social media from a fan’s perspective is the opportunity to be closer than ever to the athletes and celebrities our culture admires. The ability to be in the ear of those we follow is unprecedented in sports. However, standing on the other side of the coin are those who relish the chance to shy behind their keyboards to express their anger and fail to represent the throngs of team supporters.
However, that does not mean McCabe is free from fault. Athletes who choose to partake in social media must understand that these personal attacks will happen due to this technological closeness. Athletes with ties to universities and organizations have to be above the common man and maintain their collected face online. This responsibility is incredibly difficult for professionals, let alone student-athletes.
Unlike his football counterpart at Iowa, McCaffery has allowed his players to utilize Twitter. While free spirit is to be celebrated, when it becomes a distraction for a team that has now lost three of its last four home games, it can become extremely volatile.