North Carolina has identified another reason it failed to meet expectations this past season: Too much free speech!
Maybe that wasn't quite as big a factor as shoddy point guard play, inconsistent outside shooting and too many injuries, but it was important enough for Roy Williams to address the topic with his team on Tuesday. Williams apparently gave players guidelines on what is and isn't acceptable to say on twitter, prompting some grousing from several of the Tar Heels' more prolific tweeters.
"Well,coached just talked to us about twitter and told us we offend some people n what not so this is a farewell to bein' myself," sophomores-to-be John Henson and Dexter Strickland both tweeted Tuesday evening.
Strickland added: "They told me I gotta watch wat I say... so I'm sry if any of my tweets offended anybody that follows me.."
Then Strickland and Henson later tweeted, "Yeah these people be emailin coach n stuff smh...."self expression is a birthright and something you did PRIOR to hoopin..."
It's easy to understand the frustration from Strickland and Henson, but North Carolina is certainly not alone in implementing social media guidelines for its athletes. Most Division I schools warn high-profile players that they are scrutinized as public figures, reminding them not to post incriminating facebook pictures or write anything that will become bulletin board material for an opponent.
Strickland, Henson and their teammates are typically colorful and charismatic via twitter, but occasionally they've written something that landed them in hot water.
After College of Charleston upset North Carolina last season, Henson tweeted that the Tar Heels had just made a guy's college career. And then point guard Larry Drew launched the twitter hashtag #theyleftbecause after the Wear twins departed, joking that "#theyleftbecause I still couldn't tell them apart" and "because they found out they would have to room with (Tyler) zeller...again."
A little out of line? Perhaps. Worth censoring your team for? Probably not.