Williams' Halftime Tweets: Fair or Foul?

Maybe Mike Wegzyn can talk to his teammate about focusing on the task at hand. - Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Mike and I sat down to discuss both sides of this potential issue. How much of a problem - if at all - is it to discover that a player was active on Twitter during halftime of your game?

Totally Uncalled for Behavior (geeves)

I understand that D’metrius Williams is a young kid, a freshman, and that I am far removed from that point in my life. That said, his actions were absolutely ridiculous.

It’s halftime, and my team is trailing to a (maybe not much, but still) superior Bowling Green squad. Sure, the score is only 7-0, but my offense hasn’t done much of anything and it’s probably going to be on me and the rest of my defensive teammates to keep holding the fort until the offense figures things out.

What do I do? Well, obviously, I do the only logical thing – I take my cell phone out of my locker and jump on Twitter to make jokes about my play and see if anyone else has said anything - and re-tweet what they’ve said.

I am aware that this behavior isn’t what caused UMass to wind up on the wrong end of a 24-0 score – that would be an absurd conclusion to draw. However, is it possible that doing something like this got his head out of the game even a little bit? Enough to throw off his play on the field? Possibly.

The Minutemen did not lose because of this, but it is certainly unprofessional and immature behavior that shouldn’t be tolerated by Coach Molnar and his staff. Who knows what Williams wasn’t paying attention to during the time that he was paying attention to his phone and his Twitter feed instead?

Perhaps it’s just me, but I certainly approve of players – especially college guys – not having access to their phones during the half. There are far too many things for the team to discuss to be spending time distracted by a touch screen in your locker.

I realize that there’s a fine line here where we start to demonize Williams by stringing together “what-if”s, but hopefully Coach will talk to him about this so he can start getting his name in the media for more positive things.>

Are We Really Debating This? (paquette)

So D'metrius Williams tweeted during halftime. Why is this a big deal? Some tweets may be negative and distracting for a team, but Williams' were not.

Sure, the Minutemen gave up 17 points after halftime, but if you're contributing that to a series of tweets, you're stretching. They gave up those points because they were not as good of a football team as Bowling Green.

Williams tweeted about getting more money in the second half, which he later clarified to mean “qo out and make plays .. not literally qet money.” Williams also retweeted some praise from local writers and fans that were impressed with his play in the first half.

This is a freshman cornerback who was having the game of his admittedly short career at that point. I don't blame him for being excited, and wanting to share it with people. If he got out his phone, checked those tweets from people, and simply showed them to his teammates, is that any different from hitting the retweet button instead?

It's hard to hammer someone for an action when you don't know the context surrounding that action. We don't know if the players were given 5 or 10 minutes to relax, whether this (players having their phones out) is a common practice inside the locker room, whether he was expecting a call or checking up on someone and flipped over to Twitter for a second, etc. Until we hear more details (which we won't), I would reserve harsh judgment and let the issue be handled in-house.

I don't really mind this behavior. In fact, I love it when athletes give us fans a little glimpse of their personality. If he's spending the entire halftime period on his phone, ignoring his coaches' game plans and adjustments, and his play on the field suffered as a result, then of course I would not approve.

But Williams was one of the few UMass players who consistently made big plays yesterday, and just seemed excited about it. Yeah, it's against team rules, so he'll be punished and learn from it. But it's not a big deal otherwise.

Oh, and D'metrius: hell of a job on the field yesterday. Keep it up.

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