BOZICH & CRAWFORD | Thoughts on Bobby Petrino's Twitter fumble - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH & CRAWFORD | Thoughts on Bobby Petrino's Twitter fumble

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Bobby Petrino issued a statement about an issue with his Twitter account. Bobby Petrino issued a statement about an issue with his Twitter account.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino has sailed into the headlines again – and this time it’s not because he has settled on a place kicker.

Petrino’s Twitter account “liked,” a post by Judy Kemp, who bills herself as a female erotic novelist and does not appear to have any connections to football or former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jack Kemp or Kentucky halfback Jojo Kemp.

Petrino issued a statement on the situation this morning, a statement that stirred as many questions as answers about which person was looking at more than practice video at the U of L football complex.

Here is Petrino’s statement:

“I was alerted this morning that there was inappropriate material on my official Twitter account. While the account is generally under my supervision, there are multiple people, and possibly an unauthorized user who have access to my account. We’ve always taken the appropriate steps to make sure our official social media accounts are secure and are we taking measures to make sure this situation never happens again.”

Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich of WDRB Sports share their thoughts the situation.

Big deal, semi-big deal or no big deal?

BOZICH: Senseless deal. Unnecessary deal. Mysterious deal.

When you’ve got moments from your past (Arkansas, spring of 2012) that will immediately be brought to your present the first time you provide an opening, you can’t have things like this happen without doing a social media walk of shame.

That’s where Petrino is today – on the receiving end of snarky Tweets from gleeful opponents dialed into 1-800-I-ToldYa-So. Sorry, but Louisville knew that was part of the Petrino package when the school brought him back.

When we walk the social media high wire every day, we’re one push of the index finger from doing something stupid. But this something stupid was a needless head-shaker from Petrino’s account.

CRAWFORD: Ah, good. We’re back here again. So glad to be contributing to another U of L sports story that requires parental controls — which apparently were not in place on Petrino’s Twitter account.

Look, we’re all grown-ups here. Except, of course, for the legions of children who follow U of L sports -- and honestly, how many kids really use Twitter, anyway? I think we understand how football coaches and their Twitter accounts work. Though whoever was at the controls on this one obviously doesn’t.

I do know how easy it is to “like” something you had no intention of liking. When this particular Twitter tempest was first discovered, I went to Kemp’s page to see exactly what we were dealing with. As I scrolled down on my laptop, I hit the trackpad too hard and “Liked” one of the posts myself! That was a quick scramble to get it unliked before someone got a screenshot.

(And, just as an aside, one of the things I can’t condone in this is poor writing. An excerpt from the Twitter timeline for Kemp’s book: “She has the sort of breast shape that women would love to have and that men drool over.” Really? That’s just lazy. I mean, what kind of shape are we talking about? Football? I’ll make an admission. I picked up the first “Fifty Shades of Grey” book to see what the fuss was about. I didn’t make it too far. I know people go nuts about steamy sex scenes, but even those aren’t worth fighting through bad prose. Also, I have to admit, when I first heard that Petrino’s Twitter had liked a post about an erotic novel, my immediate reaction was, “Wait? Petrino was reading a novel? During football season?”)

Where was I? Yes. I don’t see Petrino as someone who is out there Tweeting into his phone most of the time. I don’t know who has access to his account.  Whoever it was probably has had a very long morning (and night).

Big deal? A Twitter slip, in and of itself, is not. It's the context that makes this a bigger story. And this: Someone I know at U of L a while back said to me, of recent scandals, "The one theme running through all this is a lack of respect for women." Now, I know a woman wrote this particular material. And I know how much is done for women's sports at the school. But that doesn't change the fact that, here again, a poor message is sent from a high-profile university position.

What really happened?

BOZICH: Great question. At some point somebody needs to answer it because the statement didn’t.

If you read Petrino’s statement, he does not say that he was not the person who pushed the Like icon. He doesn’t say that he knows who did it or even that he is trying to determine who did it.

And the word “sorry” does not appear in the statement.

The Like was a terrible look, but the explanation wasn’t much better. It will only continue the discussion until more facts emerge.

Stay tuned. When one of Petrino’s running backs fumbles, he typically spends a good chunk of the games on the sidelines. I wonder if the same standard applies to social media fumbles.

CRAWFORD: Whether it was Petrino or not, you’re right, it’s needless. The right thing to do is apologize and move on.

The best thing to do from a public relations standpoint, probably, was to issue no statement at all. That statement took it from story on a few websites to a story everywhere. Maybe it would’ve gotten there anyway.

Where does the story go next?

CRAWFORD: I don’t know. I do know I’m tired of writing about this stuff. It really adds nothing to society. It isn’t just a bad look for celebrities and coaching staffs, it’s a bad look for journalism, too. We all wind up in the mud. We have to do it once it becomes a story, I suppose. I’m not killing the messenger, mind you. Especially since I am a messenger.

Also, it’s not my fault. Or Twitter’s fault. Or, for once, the media’s fault. We don’t know whose fault it is. And we’re not going to. But given recent events, and the current climate, if I were Tom Jurich, I’d be inclined, if I already hadn’t, to make clear that there should be no more of this kind of thing. If you’re going to screw up, please have it be at least PG-13.

One Twitter “like” is not the end of the world. I’m not going to pretend it is. Heck, I’m having a hard enough time staying all that serious about it. But there is a fatigue setting in. I have it. I know a lot of fans have it. And I swear, if those new football facility expansion plans include a dungeon room, I’m out. I'll just start writing about something more life-affirming. Like politics. Oh, wait.

BOZICH: Where does this go next? Into the sports radio talk cycle. Into more recruiting message boards. Into the DNA of Twitter forever.

Then another coach or player will do something stupid on social media, or a prostitute will get into the basketball dorm, and we’ll move on.

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