Browns get real life lesson in social media use this week

Damarious Randall's tweet reminds team of the impact and reach of platforms

Daryl Ruiter
May 30, 2018 - 11:57 pm
A screen shot of a tweet sent by Browns cornerback Damarious Randall that has received national attention

Twitter screengrab

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Social media can be a fantastic tool and benefit for athletes.

It can also be a problem when not used properly.

Just ask Browns cornerback Damarious Randall, who is learning this week just how impactful a single, meant to be harmless tweet can be.

“I did not think that the tweet would go as viral as it did,” Randall said regarding a tweet that has been retweeted over 915,000 times as of Wednesday night promising jerseys to anyone who retweeted it if the Cavs win the NBA Finals.

It is a Twitter record for a professional athlete, ironically topping LeBron James’ criticism of president Trump in which he said, “you bum,” and now it’s also one of the top-10 most retweeted tweets on the platform.

“He has definitely done a couple of things that the Dawg Pound does not like, but it is something that he has to deal with,” cornerback T.J. Carrie, who signed as a free agent from Oakland this offseason, said. “I think to us, it is something that we laugh and joke about, and definitely something that we have to continue to watch for – just anything that we do in the media, you know what I mean? We have to take a stance and own where we are at in our stomping grounds.

“If you do have other opinions, try to keep those off of Twitter.”

Randall is a fan of Steph Curry, and subsequently the Warriors.

While he meant no harm and was just trying to have some fun, that wasn’t the best thing to express in Cleveland, home of the Cavaliers, and LeBron James.

“That just kind of goes to show that this Cleveland fan base is great,” Randall said. “I am actually excited about it, just to know that the fan base is like this. I can’t imagine what it is going to be like when the Browns start winning a bunch of games.”

Browns head coach Hue Jackson, and likely the team’s media relations staff, addressed the situation this week behind closed doors – not just with Randall either, but wth the whole team.

“I think he understands what he did,” quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. “I do not think it hit him at the time just because it is you using your phone, but you do not really realize the impact that you have. As a professional athlete, people are always watching and always critiquing. It is just a lesson learned for sure.”

Randall also found something else out about his new town.  

“I think what Damarious found out is that there are a lot of passionate Cleveland fans here, and that you have to be careful with what you say,” Jackson said.   

Jackson would know, even if his own bold statement wasn’t posted on social media. It came during a press conference and this Friday he’ll pay the price by jumping into Lake Erie after promising the Browns would not experience another difficult season like the 1-15 campaign in 2016.

They of course went 0-16 in 2017.

“I have learned to shut my mouth a little bit more – do not say something that you might end up having to do,” Jackson said. “We will get it behind us. I think it is going to be something special and for a great cause, as well. Like I said, it is going to be a cleansing of our organization, too.”

Jackson said 100 team employees will join him in taking the plunge, and as a result he’ll donate $100 on behalf of each of them to his own foundation, which was launched to combat and help victims of human trafficking.

“That says a lot. I did not even include the coaching staff in that, but they better come,” Jackson said jokingly. “We are going in, and we are going to come out, too. I promise you that.”

He plans to invite players to join him too.

“If they want to come, those who want to get that off of them, come on and jump in with us,” Jackson said. “It is going to be a fun time. It is going to be something special to me, our organization and the people involved. I truly believe that this is going to turn the page on a lot of things that are going on around here.”

As for Randall’s tweet, it isn’t the first social media misstep involving a Browns player – former running back Isaiah Crowell’s Instagram post comes to mind – and it probably won’t be the last.

“I am sure that there are a lot of lessons learned,” Jackson said. “I try to take our team through those lessons because I think that it is important. I do not think we will have any more of those the rest of the way. Sometimes those things have to happen so that we can remind ourselves exactly what social media can do. It can put you in a tough spot.

“I think it was all done in fun. I do not think he meant any harm by it, but I do understand our fans. I would expect to be the same way. If he is going to have to pay all of that money for jerseys, then so be it.”

To be fair to Randall here, his tweet wasn’t offensive or inflammatory, but it did make headlines and he’s made a promise that, let’s be real here, he’ll need to hit the Powerball to fulfill because of the response to it.

And no, Jackson won’t be kicking in to help cover the tab.

“I am not paying one dime,” Jackson said. “I am done with saying anything. I’m keeping my mouth shut. There is no more of me going out on a limb and saying anything. I just want to play.”

So, what’s the best advice here when it comes to social media use?

“Don’t hit send,” Taylor said.

Or at least think before you do.