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Former Eagles defensive lineman and two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Long had a reputation during his playing days for using his voice, both online and offline, to champion causes and crack jokes, but it seems he's nearing his limit with internet chatter.
Long posted a length Instagram story on Monday in which he said he's "pretty much done" with Twitter, a site on which Long was extremely popular. Long tweeted more than 11,000 times since joining Twitter in January 2013. He racked up more than 650,000 followers on the microblogging site, from Eagles teammates to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. He has more than 420,000 followers on Instagram.
Here's how Long explained his decision to quit Twitter:
"A year out of football has given me that clarity. [Twitter], I likened it last week to a drug with no bug. No redeeming qualities, just a place for people to b***h at each other. You could go on there and say the sky is blue, and you'd have 50 people in your mentions telling you, 'Well, it's a different shade of blue. It's a different hue. It depends on how you look at it. And also, that's offensive to me.' They'd tell you it's red, it's yellow. Listen, this isn't a political thing. Everyone knows my politics. But pretty much across the board, if you're on Twitter, you annoy the s**t out of me.
"Okay, let me take one thing back: I've met a lot of good people on Twitter. So all accounts are not annoying. But just the vast majority of them. And I gotta wade through the 95% to get to the 5% I actually want to read or hear from, or interact with. And there are a number of awesome followers who I've really had a good rapport with over the years, and people I follow that I really like, so let me not make a blanketed statement.
"But the site, as a whole, is annoying as s**t, and I prefer this as a medium to fire off opinions, or whatever. And I have a podcast now. When I was a player, I didn't have a podcast, I didn't have anything to get my voice out the way I wanted it to get out. Twitter, although imperfect, was the vehicle. Now, I'm like, 'What the hell am I doing on that site? I've got my podcast.' Green Light Pod, check it out."
It's interesting to hear Long talk about being a player who wants to be heard. Tons of athletes use Twitter and Instagram as a way to get their own voices and messages out into the general discourse, but we're also starting to see athletes take more involved routes, like podcasts, before their playing days are over.
Former 76ers sharpshooter J.J. Redick started his own podcast with The Ringer as a way to discuss the NBA, its culture, its ins and outs, and a number of non-basketball topics without the constraints of Twitter - though the notoriously Twitter-less Redick actually re-joined the website earlier this year.
LeBron James, certainly an exceptional case, is a co-producer and recurring face on HBO's show "The Shop", where athletes and celebrities gather to talk about culture, past and present, in a more long-form setting.
And Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is using his talents as a rapper to explain his thoughts through music. When he released his latest song, "Blacklist", he tweeted the message "Let me vent", but decided to let the song do the talking instead of a Tweet thread.
As Long noted, sites like Twitter - and, to an extent, Instagram - are imperfect, and they often incentivize rushed thoughts and big reactions. As prominent athletes continue to push for control of their own narratives, it will be interesting to see if they eventually avoid context-crushing mediums like Twitter altogether and instead find long-form places to speak about their interests.
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