It's day two at Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph. The team had their first practice at 8:45 a.m., and this year the team is discussing how to address social media.
Kansas City is a town that isn't shy when it comes to supporting and criticizing their local teams, and that is especially true on social media sites. Three Chiefs with local ties spoke out about how they respond to online remarks about their team.
It's no secret the Chiefs did not have the best season last year, and fans didn't hold back. They flew banners over Arrowhead and went online with their complaints. It's that internet vitriol that has players like Excelsior Springs, MO, native Chad Kilgore vowing to stay away.
"I try not to pay attention to it. Coaches tell us to stay away from the social media and all that because you hear some crazy stuff," the linebacker said.
Braden Wilson, a rookie fullback who hails from Smith Center, KS, agrees. He said their coaches are encouraging players to avoid online criticism.
"I grew up a Chiefs fan, so I know exactly how it is. That's one of the things that makes me want to avoid it. Not that it's a bad thing. I just don't want to get caught up in it," Wilson said.
Players meanwhile said they'll be extremely careful about what they tweet and how they respond.
"If I want to tweet something, I'm going to proofread it and if there's any doubt in my mind that I shouldn't send it, I'm deleting it," Wilson said.
At training camp, fans and members of the media had their phones close at hand, snapping shots and pictures of players and practice sessions that will likely be tweeted, uploaded to Facebook and posted in Instagram.
Those images often elicit the response from the Chiefs faithful. 610 Sports Radio host Jay Binkley remembers the outrage, when the Chief ended last season at 2-14.
"It was all negative. Everybody wanted everybody fired. But you can really gauge the pulse of the fans through social media because it's like the world's biggest bar," Binkley said.
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel, a regular presence on Facebook and Twitter, sums it up:
"You sort of don't need the news source to speak to your fans. You can go straight to them and say what you want, but you have to be smart about it," he said.
Some football players like Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and Falcons wide receiver Roddy White recently came under fire for controversial tweets. Both athletes have since apologized.
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