12

July

Cory’s Corner: Will teams Johnny Manziel-proof themselves?

Johnny Manziel made this social media post on a  recent trip to Las Vegas. If it affects his play remains to be seen.

Johnny Manziel made this social media post on a recent trip to Las Vegas. If it affects his play remains to be seen.

With the explosion of social media in the last few years, many think that sports teams will need to Johnny Manziel-proof themselves.

Or will they?

By now, everyone has caught a glimpse of Manziel’s mini-vacation photos he took in Las Vegas a few months ago. In it was the usual charade of Vegas: scantily clad women in a party atmosphere with Johnny and his friends.

Now I don’t think this is a big deal. Manziel hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL yet, and he decided to go to Vegas moments after he was issued the Browns playbook.

Yet I was surprised to see and hear about how many people were upset that he wasn’t at home cramming his brain with hot routes, silent counts and hand signals.

First of all, let the players fail before jumping all over them for a decision based on free time.

Taken a step further, what if said player was a veteran? Would Packers fans have a problem if Aaron Rodgers started filling up social media with himself partying in the offseason?

Football players live in a 24/7 media bubble that makes them feel like they are being suffocated. That’s why offensive linemen usually give the most candid quotes, because that group of hard workers hardly ever gets a microphone thrown in his personal space.

Obviously, athletes have to be a little bit more cautious with what they let the world to see. This isn’t high school where you can post a picture of something and only your close friends are going to see it.

But then again, I don’t think it’s fair for athletes to live as hermits. The reason Rodgers is so adored in Green Bay is because he is approachable. He is spotted in the grocery store, restaurants and doing other regular people things. But Packers fans, being in the smallest NFL town, are smart enough not to ruin every public appearance that he makes by splashing it up on social media every time.

What it all comes down to is filtering. Herm Edwards, the ESPN NFL analyst who is outspoken to a fault, had a brief talk at the NFL Rookie Symposium a few years ago. The main thing he said was, “Think twice before you hit send.”

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31

May

Tom Crabtree: The Fan-Friendly Green Bay Packer

Tom Crabtree’s green mohawk, as posted on Twitter, after getting over 10,000 followers in April 2011.

“He is notable for the large number of tattoos on his arms.”

This is about all the personal information you’ll get when you look up Tom Crabtree on Wikipedia. He’s the tattooed tight end wearing #83 for the Green Bay Packers, and he was born November 4, 1985, in Columbus, Ohio. An undrafted free agent from Miami University, he made his debut with the Packers in his second year, performing mostly as a blocking tight end, yet also managing to accumulate 4 receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown.

These are the cold, hard facts anyone can find out.

But the “plugged-in” cheeseheads know the real @TCrabtree83 as the most fan-friendly Packer to embrace the Age of Social Media.

Just this past week, Crabtree made an impromptu phone call to Bill Johnson and Jason Wilde on their “Green and Gold Today” talk show (which has been suffering from lockout depression). He appeared as a special guest on the latest episode of Cheeshead Radio, co-hosted by our own “Jersey” Al Bracco. And at 8:00 p.m. CDT on June 8th, he will be hosting a live Book Club discussion on CheeseheadTV to discuss Annie Jacobsen’s newest release, “Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base.”

Of course, aside from his gracious appearances in the world of internet radio and podcasts, Tom Crabtree is most often found “tweeting” his thoughts and interacting with his 11,000+ followers in 140 characters or less.

“I think it’s so cool today, that fans can interact with us like that and talk to celebrities and athletes,” said Crabtree in his “Tuesdays With Wilde” interview last December. “I like to interact with the fans, because I know if I was in their shoes, it’d be cool to talk to the people I look up to.”

Sometimes you will find him talking about movies or TV shows like “The Office” (one of his favorites). Other times you will see him discussing music, such as getting to see Avenged Sevenfold on his recent trip to Rock on the Range in his home city of Columbus.

And when he’s not working out, you can probably find Tom Crabtree playing Call of Duty: Black Ops on his PS3 or Xbox 360.