Tweets From Pro Athletes: Sex and Cable Bills (Of Course)

The Flyers organization might want to revise player contracts to include a social media clause

These are lean days for fans of local sports. Aside from the Phillies, the hometown alternatives are slim: The Eagles are still locked out, and both the Sixers and the Flyers are watching their respective playoffs the same way we are—from home. If you’re wondering how your favorite athletes are passing time in the off-season, I’d recommend following them on Twitter. Though you might not like what you read.

The recent tweets of two Flyers make me wonder if there’s any difference between some of today’s young professional athletes and the 20-somethings you read about who lose their jobs because they post pictures of themselves on Facebook doing naked keg stands. Take mustachioed winger Dan Carcillo, known for agitating opponents, racking up penalties and occasionally scoring goals. He was apparently so pleased with a score of a different sort that he tweeted an NHL buddy with a graphic X-rated question. It was one of those bro moments (“broments”?) where one guy brags to a friend about a conquest—the difference being, of course, that he wasn’t telling tales at a bar over a few pints, or even sending a text. Anyone can follow Carcillo’s tweets, including what I imagine are a lot of young Flyers fans who got an unexpected sex ed lesson that day. Carcillo quickly pulled down the post, but the sports blogosphere had already immortalized his stupidity. Perhaps that’s what we should expect from a guy nicknamed Car Bomb.

Flyers captain Mike Richards should be held to a higher standard, though, and to his credit, he’s kept his tweets clean (at least the ones I’ve seen). As the season ended, media speculation about his worthiness to wear the “C” on his sweater was overblown—one sub-par year shouldn’t lead to demotion or a trade. But Richards’s rep as “moody and withdrawn” only seems to get worse the more you hear him talk—or write in less than 140 characters. In response to that description, courtesy of Comcast SportsNet’s Tim Panaccio, Richards took to Twitter: “He writes articles that are no where close to being true.” He called another critical hockey writer a “NERD!!!!!!” (Caps and exclamation points are his; no need to shout, dude.)

That’s harmless stuff, especially in light of Carcillo’s Penthouse Forum tweet. But my favorite tweet from Richards was this incredulous one: “Apparently if you don’t pay your comcast bill they just shut you down, a phone call would have been nice.” Let’s ignore the irony that his salary is paid by Comcast-Spectacor, and that a guy with a 12-year, $69 million contract can’t pay his bills on time. What fascinates me is the phone call comment, which suggests El Capitan is a little out of touch with reality. If only we could all live in the pro athlete’s world, where utility companies call to make sure you’re OK before they cut off your service.

I won’t be surprised if teams like the Flyers start including social networking restrictions in their contracts. For every player with something interesting to say, there’s a handful that would be much better off keeping their mouths shut and keeping their tweets to themselves.