How to deal with spiteful Twitter critics, including those who went after Alex Oriakhi


It has become an ugly reality for college and professional athletes in the new, wired world of sports.

With every move, whether it be a commitment, a transfer, or an in-game blunder, there is inevitably a contingent of critics on the Twitterverse who will chime in with language that is certainly not fit for print.

The latest situation came as former Connecticut forward Alex Oriakhi, granted a release to transfer from UConn to play right away at the school of his choice, announced that he would be headed to Missouri.

As Michael Rogner shows on Run The Floor (beware of the unfortunate language some Twitter users employed, if you follow the link), it got ugly.

In some of the more tame language, users gave their opinions that Oriakhi had “zero skills,” calling him a “scum bag,” and “traitor.”

I’m not here to lament the degeneration of the 21st century fan. I’m not going to create some sort of outrage. Is it unfortunate? Of course. Is it worth manufacturing a controversy? No.

This is no different than the loudest heckler at a game, the one who won’t sit down, despite repeated warnings from arena security.

That fan has now adapted with technology.

I’ll be the first to defend the right of one to speak an opinion, whether that opinion is a popular one or not. That is the purpose of the “public square.”

Because these Twitter critics come out with every athlete’s decision and are such a small minority of Twitter users, the rest can push them to the fringe, roll their eyes, and say, “here they come again.”

So next time a major college athlete announces his transfer and is showered with tweets of displeasure, to put it nicely, start taking some screenshots, cement that speech in history, and combat it the old-fashioned way:

Pull back the veil of anonymity and allow those critics to make their case in the public square.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Henry Ellenson wins Marquette Madness dunk contest

Steve Wojciechowski
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Marquette freshman forward Henry Ellenson won the Marquette Madness slam dunk contest on Friday night with a between the legs dunk.

The 6-foot-10 Ellenson, the top recruit in Steve Wojciechowski’s freshmen class, defeated sophomore Sandy Cohen, fellow freshman Sacar Anim and Wally Ellenson, his older brother.

Ellenson joins the Golden Eagles as the No. 11 overall recruit in the Class of 2015.

Bill Self signs $10,000 check for KU student


Late Night in the Phog is typically a night to remember for Kansas fans. For Kansas student Jerrod Martin Castro, Friday night’s event is one he won’t forget.

Castro, a sophomore, was selected as a contestant for a $10,000 giveaway. The only thing standing in the way of a big payday was a half-court shot. Brennan Bechard, the Kansas director of basketball operations, attempted the long-distance shot and hit nothing but net.

Kansas head coach Bill Self signed a $10,000 check on the spot.