Social athlete-fan interactions keep getting worse

Chris Chiozza posted his address on Twitter.

Chris Chiozza posted his address on Twitter.
Image: AP

Player fan relationships moved into an entirely new realm over a decade ago when social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter began to pop up. Not long after came Instagram and later TikTok. These platforms have become staples in our lives, not just in the United States but around the world.

We’ve never been able to access pretty much anyone in the world as easily as we can in 2022. This can be great for meeting new people, networking, growing, and building relationships with people outside our immediate circles. But it can also invite other elements that aren’t so great. That’s especially true for celebrities and professional athletes who use these social media platforms.

It doesn’t matter what level of player it is either. Fans are so used to publicly approaching players on social media that even role players get called out and bashed by fans. And sometimes those fans happen to be rooting for that player’s team. Case in point. Chris Chiozza, a journeyman point guard for the Golden State Warriors, had an online altercation with a fan who’d called out his play on Twitter Tuesday morning. Chiozza even posted his “address” for the heckler, inviting them or anyone else to pull up.

Whether that’s actually Chiozza’s physical address or not is beyond the point. Hopefully, it isn’t, but sometimes players can be just as wild as fans. After all, they are just people. They just make more money than most of us. But these are the types of confrontations we see on these platforms that aren’t regulated by any governing body.

The days of fans fawning over their favorite athletes aren’t over because we still see that. But the player-fan dynamic has devolved into something primarily seen in a WWE ring up until the past decade-plus. These showdowns aren’t confined to Twitter and Instagram either. Russell Westbrook was involved in an incident with a fan in Toronto less than a week ago that was filmed and posted online.

No matter where said player and random fan cross paths, the encounter will eventually find its way to social media. Whether the beef starts or ends there, it’ll be on one of the aforementioned platforms. Once we’re at the level of athletes throwing out addresses and insinuating they want all the smoke with fans, it’s gone way too far. Kevin Durant regularly goes at it with random folks on Twitter about anything and sees nothing wrong with it. Durant’s even borrowed former nemesis Charles Barkley’s old line of, “I’m not a role model.”

Yes, parents should raise their children and not expect them to learn everything from a guy dribbling or catching a ball. As we’re reminded of time and time again, these athletes and other public figures aren’t always the best people for anyone to emulate. But at the same time, it might be nice to see a little more decorum out of those in the public eye. Hey, I guess we can’t have everything.

Twitter has pretty much become the epicenter for ratchetness in sports. It’s like Twitter is the new never-ending Jerry Springer-Maury Povich episode. Most of it is cringe-worthy, but we’re drawn to it. Train wrecks are attention grabbers. It’s no different online. We’re so far down this social media path that I don’t think it’ll ever go in reverse. Until there’s some type of FCC level enforcement over social media, we’ll likely continue to see these exchanges between athletes/celebrities and fans. 

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