You Can’t Stop Them, You Can Only Hope to Contain Them: Zach McCabe Fiasco

Iowa State basketball coach Fred Hoiberg didn’t hold back his displeasure towards social media during his press conference on Monday. After Iowa’s loss to Wisconsin, several Iowa fans typed out their frustrations at Hawkeye senior Zach McCabe. McCabe was called for a blocking foul (that could have gone the other way), and he air-balled a 3-pointer that could have tied or at least cut down the Badgers’ lead.

Fred, if you want to combat as many trolls on social media as possible, I suggest you start using your Twitter account a lot more. People will read it.

After listening to Hoiberg, and reading the great Mike Hlas‘ column about the McCabe meltdown, I do understand that fans have greater access to voice their feelings, and unfortunately at times, cross over the line.

But if a coach thinks that cutting off social media to his or her players is going to keep them from reading message boards, texts, and Twitter, I hate to deliver bad news…

…good luck stopping them from doing that, or in that matter, using it.

It’s ironic that the NCAA has now granted permission for programs to use Instagram, to go along with texting and social media as forms of “soft” recruiting. Athletic departments uses social media to promote and build an audience for their sports and brand.

I think it has become hypocritical of us, as fans and media, to expect and demand that student-athletes block out the “distractions” in the stands and on social media. Eighteen, 19, and 20-year old kids are going to read and hear everything, because their families, friends, and classmates are on Facebook and Twitter.

If we want them to block out distractions, then how come we can’t do it ourselves?

The onus is back on the coach. No longer can coaches use the old tired excuse of “I don’t read the papers/message boards/tweets/texts” and hope that it will go away. Social media experts have long advocated athletic programs and professional teams to educate and show athletes how to use Twitter and learn how to not take stupid and demeaning comments personally.

I don’t know what took place between McCabe and several posters, but I do know one thing: I don’t hide behind a fake name or a fake avatar. When I tweet, you see my name and my face.  I use social media as a way to learn something, contribute, and to have conversations.

John Calipari can rub a lot of people the wrong way, but how is it that he understands the evolution of college sports, athletes, and social media better than everyone else? Because he adapts to it.

Which brings me to an interview that was done last week, that I feel that you should listen to. John Calipari of Kentucky was asked last week by Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic about how he uses social media. Calipari’s response will rub a lot of coaches the wrong way, including Fred, but the more I thought about what he said, it made sense.

Cue to the 5:00 mark of the interview to hear Cal’s take.

It’s ironic that Fred Hoiberg has a Twitter account, but does he actually uses it, or is someone else tweeting for him? There is no question that Kirk Ferentz doesn’t use social media. That’s why he has a ban in place for his teams. it’s a chore that no coach wants..but they need to understand and be proactive about it.


The very same social media users Hoiberg is blasting…includes him, Randy Peterson, Mike Hlas, Keith Murphy, and me. Fred could’ve used his Twitter account and posted his feelings about what happened to McCabe.
It would have elicit the same response, if not greater, as a way to stimulate conversation on how we can better use social media.

What a missed opportunity, Fred.

Shutting down Twitter is a short-term solution. It’s not going to stop your players from using it…and reading everything. Calipari was spot on when he said “If you’re reading (only) the responses (of what people say about you or the team), you shouldn’t use it.” If you can’t dismiss the negative comments and interact with others who don’t stoop to that level, then you’re not ready to use social media. It’s a conversation piece.

Which brings me back to the fans. I’ve said a few weeks ago, I’ll say it again. It’s time for fans to either start policing ourselves and curb-stomp the clowns who gives us a bad name, like Jeff Orr, and the “jihadic” wing of the Hawkeye Nation (h/t to Steve Deace).

Maybe it’s me, but it’s no wonder why I’ve started to sour on some Hawkeyes fans. For the most part, Iowa fans are loyal, dedicated, and supportive. There’s a lot of them I like and respect immensely thru social media (Graham, Schmitty, PSD, BHGP, etc), but there are too many assholes in that fan base for me to stomach. They give Iowa fans a bad name.

And Dan Dakich is right…sadly. And I grew up a Hawkeye fan.


“Let Them Own It”

Recently, I’ve noticed how people are obsessed with getting revenge or demanding their recourse over things that have happened to them, or something that was said to them.  They feel the urge to respond to everything angrily and emotionally. 

No wonder why we’re on a one-way trip to a nervous breakdown. 

This week, a 2 minute video clip has made re-think how I feel about reacting to everything that is being said of me negatively, also how I was treated or had something done to me.  I would listen to it a few times, in order to fully understand the point. 

Let them “own it.” 

You don’t have to reply to everything that’s being said, demand something, or expect anything.  Let them “own it.”  Why?  As ESPN’s Colin Cowherd explains in the video clip below, they’ll feel guilty about it (mentally, and do what they can to hide it).  Secondly, on that same psychological line, you will get your own satisfaction and peace. 

Once you have discovered that, you have moved on.  No need to ask for recourse or compensation.  What’s done is done. 

Mentally, by walking away and letting them “own it”, you break free from obsessing about it, ruminating and being angry about it. 

Initially, you want to react, reply, and attack everything in your path, but eventually you have to free yourself mentally.  We’re big boys and girls.  You know how to move on with your life.  You should move on with your life. 

If you don’t walk away, that’s a you problem, and you’ll never move on. 

Accepting “Good” and “Bad” Habits


There is a right way or a bad way when it comes to habits.


If there was a picture of procrastination in the dictionary, a picture of me would accompany the term. 

I finally switched out my old PC and and started using my laptop at home Sunday evening.  It was much easier than I thought it would be.  Just because I know my way around a computer and the internet, that doesn’t always mean that I know how to do tech stuff or work on coding.  I leave that for the pros. 

My old PC started to show signs of flat-lining on Saturday.  I knew it was time to finally pull the plug and move into the modern era.  Old habits are hard to get rid of, especially when the modern era changes almost every two years when it comes to technology. 

Old habits.  Or I should say “habits that we know we need to evolve from, but we choose not to walk away from.” 

Bad or old habits stand in the way of what we want to be or where we need to be at.  Problem is, we have too many habits to choose from to toss in the river. 

Better yet, we should just accept our vices as part of our identity.  It’s who we are.  Embarrassing?  Yes.  Uncomfortable?  Of course.  Bad habits are a part of us and who we are.  It’s that simple. 

Unless there is a bad habit that includes some criminal activity. 

“Winning” is No Longer Funny


Charlie Sheen thinks he's "Winning". He's losing much more than a show.


For the past two weeks, we have been subjected to the foilables and rancor from actor Charlie Sheen.  From his public criticism of producer Chuck Lorre (from Two and Half Men) to spitting out amusing lines like “Adonis DNA” and the rage of the Twitter hash tags “#Winning”

This morning, Joe Winn from Lessing-Flynn tweeted this: 

If you have to tell people you are winning, you are already losing – both people’s respect and attention. Don’t perpetuate dumb cliches.

Earlier this evening, CBS decided to fire Sheen, likely ending his show “Two and a Half Men” completely.  They originally suspended productions as Charlie was put on suspension (or something to that effect). 

The #Winning tag has been used in jokes and have been bantered by everyone across the world.  But, when you strip everything down, for Charlie Sheen, it’s no longer funny to be “Winning”. 

It’s downright sad. 


Colin Cowherd didn't mince words on his Monday show about Sheen. It's a dumpster fire right now.


Colin Cowherd from ESPN’s “The Herd” pointed out something on his show this morning that was lost in all of the Sheen hubris:  his personal life.  Not just his personal life, but the people around him are in disarray, much like him. 

Did you know he has five children (one with a former girlfriend, two with actress Denise Richards, and two with actress Brooke Mueller)?  Mueller was reportedly in rehab last year for substance abuse.  His penchant for porn stars isn’t new news.  He’s been around them since the 1990’s.  He shot ex-fiancee Kelly Preston in the arm, was arrested for domestic battery against Mueller, and Richards divorced him on grounds of violent behavior and substance abuse. 

Don’t take my word for it.  Wikipedia has a list. 

And in the age of “news A.D.D.”, last I checked, nobody cares about the ongoing Wisconsin collective bargaining saga.  Everyone’s enjoying the train wreck that is Charlie. 

Charlie is out of control.  Drug and alcohol abuse, penchant for violence against women, his interest in adult film actresses, et cetera, has created a perfect storm…in the worst way possible.  All of us think it’s funny and wild, but go ask his kids about watching “daddy” behave like this.  You don’t think they’re embarrassed, confused, and scared about what their dad will do next?  Why is he acting like this?  Is he running from his “shadow”?   

Charlie Sheen is not hurting himself, but everyone around him.  His kids are going to suffer, directly and indirectly, from his actions and behavior.  And we continue to endorse this by giving him what he wants…attention.  It’s pathetic that no one has offered to pull him by the collar and get him “real” treatment, and not the half-assed “celebrity” rehab Hollywood prefers. 

Parents need schooling as much as the kids do

Character Counts in Iowa

Two college classmates and I were rehashing the annual Character Counts gala at the Hy-Vee Conference Center Friday night.  The gala honored Indianapolis tight end and Livermore native Dallas Clark with the Bob Ray Pillar of Character award.

The conversation segued into the Character Counts program in itself and how effective it is in the schools that implements it and the students who benefit from it.  We agreed that Character Counts is helping students become better citizens in this world of continuing bad behavior and choices.

Dallas Clark, 2010 Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character award receipent

We also agreed that parents should be taught the same principles as their children are learning through the Character Counts program.

A sizable number of parents today have abdicated their roles as disciplinarians and role models for their children.  Fathers are trying to be their son’s “homies” and “boys” and mothers want to be their daughters “BFF” and wear the same clothes as their daughters do.  More importantly, it’s the mindset of the “backseat teacher” that got one friend up in arms.  Parents telling teachers that they don’t know how to do their jobs, defending their children’s bad behavior, and in turn, behaving badly themselves.

Teachers, athletes, public figures, and others can do so much to influence children to do good or bad.  It’s up to the parents who are not acting like parents to stop passing the buck and grow up.  It’s “big boy” life we’re talking about here.

It’s astounding to me that some adults haven’t figured it out by now that raising children is a life-long contractual obligation (translation = career).  No, I don’t think it’s a job.  It’s a career to raise kids, give them advice, and guide them towards making decisions that will enrich them, not destroy them.

The (bad) decisions of parents can leave a child without an anchor.

For the record, I’m not a parent.  I’m still single, never dated, and wished I was in the same position as many of my friends and those who follow this blog.  But I do know what it’s like to live with divorced parents, and to see other parents from every walk of life continually make mistakes left and right, never learning from them enough to guide their kids to go in the opposite direction and surround themselves with good people.

Character Counts is a very good program for children, and educators have seen the results.

It might be a good idea to bring parents to school and teach it to them.  We sure as hell need it as much as the kiddies do.