While Twitter has done wonders for athletes and sports fans, all too often the social media platform can prove brutally demoralizing.

Actress Ashley Judd discovered this lesson the hard way over the weekend.

The diehard Kentucky Wildcats fan was at the SEC tournament cheering on her team as it charged through the tournament and advanced to 34-0 on the season. Her tweets from the games, while benign, quickly became fodder for opposing fans:




Of course, some fans were more civil in their disagreement:


During an appearance Monday on MSNBC Judd discussed the "shaming culture on social media" and added that she would be pressing charges against some of the people who went after her.

Even that message provoked some vile on Twitter, and Judd was quick to respond.


Kentucky enters the NCAA tournament as the top overall seed and the favorite to win the championship. If the Wildcats do advance to the Final Four, expect Judd to be watching in person.


This little girl isn't the only one heartbroken to see Jimmy Graham shipped from the New Orleans Saints to the Seattle Seahawks.

Drew Brees, who connected with Graham for 51 touchdown passes over the course of five seasons, was also devastated to see his top target traded. Perhaps knowing that a picture speaks a thousand words, Brees on Wednesday tweeted this photo of his son wearing a Jimmy Graham jersey:


When reached for comment, this is what Brees had to say:


Making the situation all the more troubling for Brees is the fact that his monster contract (he is owed $26.4 million and $27.4 million over the next two years) may have made it nearly impossible for the Saints to resign Graham.

Graham had some issues with the Saints organization during his time in New Orleans, but he and Brees were always close. Even after reports surfaced in 2014 that Graham was annoyed when Brees said the team was prepared to move on with or without Graham, the Pro Bowl tight end claimed there was no beef.

"Nah," Graham told ESPN The Magazine. "No, Drew's my guy. I love Drew."

Graham had good reason to love Brees. Other than the fact that Brees is widely recognized as one of the nicest men in the NFL, he is also largely responsible for the rise in Graham's star. With the help of Brees, Graham has been voted to three Pro Bowls and is one of the most feared pass catchers in the league. Without Brees, experts say, Graham would likely be a good-but-not-great player.

Fortunately for Graham, he should be in a pretty good situation with his new Pro Bowl quarterback, Russell Wilson.

Many of Graham's former teammates joined Brees in expressing surprise and frustration with the deal.





Brees has been fortunate to play with a pair of tight ends in Graham and Antonio Gates who may wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Suffice it to say the man who succeeds Graham has some big shoes to fill.

If you thought professional athletes' salaries were outrageous, wait until you hear how much certain superstars could make for a single tweet.

According to Opendorse, a platform that connects athletes with marketers, the world's most popular players can earn upwards of $100,000 for typing fewer than 140 characters. The company valued a single LeBron James tweet at worth around $126,000. But that's nothing compared to what another 30-year-old superstar could make.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Opendorse, could net $304,000 in one tweet.

That's right, all it takes for the handsome Golden Boot winner to put away more than a quarter of a million dollars is to type out one tweet.

Ronaldo has 34.1 million followers, which trumps James' 19.5 million. Ronaldo is also perhaps the world's most recognizable star in its most popular sport. On his Twitter account, Ronaldo mixes posts about soccer with those meant as advertisements. Here are a few in which he is pushing a product:



James has tweeted more than Ronaldo (4,613 to 2,292) but seems to advertise less. Here are some of James' brand-based tweets:



James is careful with his tweets and reportedly turned down at least one huge offer:


With great power comes great responsibility, and James has been burned before for tweets seen as disparaging toward one of his endorsers.

James and Kevin Durant are the only basketball players and American athletes who made Opendorse's top five list. The rest of the men are soccer stars.


Two seasons ago Dwyane Wade lost $150,000 in fines plus forfeited salary as punishment after he kicked Ramon Sessions in the groin.

So when James Harden pulled a similar move on Wade's former teammate and good friend LeBron James, Wade's wife, actress Gabrielle Union, set out to make sure the punishment was the same.

In a series of tweets Monday, Union laid out her case for why Harden should be suspended for a game. She notes that the NBA is in a tough position because the Houston Rockets are playing the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday in a matchup between two of the league's best teams. Ratings might not be the same with Harden, an MVP candidate, on the bench.


Making comparisons to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, it seems, has become the worst insult one can hurl these days.




As is the case when a celebrity takes a strong stand, Union got lots of spiteful tweets. She responded with a bit of humor:


In the end, Union got what she wanted. The NBA on Monday suspended Harden without pay for Tuesday's game between Houston and Atlanta.

Jim Harbaugh knows a thing or two about toughness.

This is the coach, after all, who wanted so badly to join his players on the field that he once wiped one of his guys' blood on his face.

So when Harbaugh saw a fellow former University of Michigan student display impressive perseverance, he had to tweet at her. That woman was none other than Madonna.

The 56-year-old Queen of Pop, who was born in Michigan and briefly attended school in Ann Arbor, took a tumble last week during a performance at the BRIT Awards. True to her status as one of the best performers alive, Madonna got back up and continued with her set.

Here's the video:

Harbaugh, who may or may not be a fan of Madonna's music, sent out this tweet upon seeing the clip:


Toughness is a trait Harbaugh and his staff have emphasized since he took over at Michigan in December. Harbaugh said that in evaluating recruits, he was looking for players who showed a certain edge.

"How do you gauge somebody's toughness?" Harbaugh told reporters in February. "I mean, what does their contact courage look like? A back that will lower their pads going through a hole, a defender that cannot wait to get from point A to point B and go hit somebody. We wanted guys who are serious about football."

For someone who managed to stay off Twitter for a while, Harbaugh appears to have taken a liking to the social media platform. Since joining in January, he's tweeted practically every day, mostly with motivational slogans and shout outs to people (like Madonna) who inspire him.

It started out harmless. But, as often happens with Curt Schilling, a simple congratulations for his daughter heading off to play college softball quickly devolved into a pseudo-Twitter meltdown.

The former Red Sox great isn't winning any trophies for his skill at de-escalating conflict and rising above critics who are clearly out to get his goat. Fortunately, that makes for good entertainment.

Here's how it began:


Naturally, that lent itself to being picked on by some Internet men who wanted Schilling to know they would "take care" of his daughter.


Schilling did get a little support:


But for the most part he was on his own.



That would count as a rough afternoon for most people. But for Schilling, it's a day like any other.

The NBA's trade deadline passed Thursday afternoon, and for a while it seemed like the day might be fairly quiet.

Then the dam broke. In the last 20 minutes for teams to make trades, a tsunami of activity changed the NBA landscape. Phoenix shipped out half of its roster, including Goran Dragic to Miami and Isaiah Thomas to Boston. Philadelphia decided its 12-40 record was too good, so it unloaded several promising young players in exchange for picks. The Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets made serious upgrades for a playoff run this year, while the Milwaukee Bucks cemented their status as a team with incredible long-term potential.

Here is Yahoo basketball guru Adrian Wojnarowski reacting to all the activity that happened right at the trade deadline:


So yeah: Things got a bit crazy.

One of the biggest trades of the day has much more to do with legend and legacy than it does with competitive basketball. Kevin Garnett wasn't on a serious playoff contender with the Brooklyn Nets, but he's fine being traded to one of the league's worst teams because it means going home. Per his agent:


Meanwhile, Wolves starting point guard Ricky Rubio is curled up somewhere with a bowl of popcorn, geeking out on his Twitter updates -- and new teammate:


Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins was another of the names moved just minutes before the deadline. He was traded to the Utah Jazz, where he's expected to be waived, allowing him to join another playoff contender:


Perkins wasn't the only player Oklahoma City moved at the deadline. Fellow Thunder teammate Reggie Jackson proved himself to be a strong NBA player, but the Thunder's current financial obligations mean it can't afford to keep him when his current deal expires after this season. So the team flipped him to Detroit -- all while Jackson was out cold.


In Philadelphia, Michael Carter-Williams was seen as the closest thing the Sixers had to a star. The second-year player and former rookie of the year was seen as a cornerstone of the franchise's future -- at least until he was unceremoniously shipped to Milwaukee. And poor MCW was completely blindsided:


MCW's teammate, meanwhile, doesn't even understand enough of what's transpired to have an opinion:


Embiid's confusion is understandable, given by all of the Sixers' movement. But that hasn't stopped him from quickly being turned into a meme:


Finally, with the dust settling on one of the more furious trading deadlines in NBA history, it looks like a lot of talent has been either unloaded on rebuilding teams in the East or sent to title contenders trying to increase their weapons ahead of the playoffs. Jazz center Rudy Gobert on all the change:


Pretty spot-on assessment, Rudy. Now if you'll excuse us, we need to figure out if there's still anyone left to play basketball in Philly.

If you're listening, Russell Wilson, take note: Lolo Jones does not agree with you on Fifty Shades of Grey.

In a Twitter hot-take that could have targeted the Seahawks quarterback, Jones slammed the '50 Shades of Grey' movie and its fans who dismiss its content as harmless. The movie is an adaptation of a romance novel that heavily features erotic sexual practices including bondage and masochism.

Jones, who is a devout Christian, doesn't see any good in the movie.


It's unclear if Jones was directly responding to Wilson, who attended a showing of the movie and tweeted out that he thought it was a "great" movie. Wilson is also a Christian, and Jones could be suggesting that Wilson is off-base by assuming such a movie is accepting within their shared belief system.

In fairness to Jones, there are plenty of people both religious and non-religious who have condemned the movie for promoting abuse or creating a channel for men to entice women into potentially dangerous sexual practices. Supporters of the movie have said that the Fifty Shades of Grey does no such thing, and can't be blamed if people interpret its content the wrong way.

Lolo Jones is resolute in her stance.


The best-case scenario is that Jones' barbs prompt a long, never-to-be-resolved Twitter feud between herself and Wilson. If that comes to fruition, then Fifty Shades of Grey will have at least one positive line to add on its resume.

Jameis Winston has taken some heat for a photo circulating online that seems to show him with a surprising amount of belly fat. Even though his stomach is accentuated by a belt strapped tightly around his weight, Winston has been assaulted with criticisms that he is letting himself get out of shape and jeopardizing his status in the upcoming NFL draft.

Whether that's true is now irrelevant. Resident overweight quarterback Jared Lorenzen decided to chime in on the matter, posting a side-by-side comparison of himself and Winston:


Those who aren't familiar with Lorenzen might write him off, but that would be a mistake. Despite his struggles with weight -- Lorenzen is 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds -- he was a star quarterback at the University of Kentucky, breaking the all-time passing yards mark set by former No. 1 overall pick Tim Couch. Lorenzen also backed up Eli Manning for four seasons and won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants.

Despite his size, Lorenzen has a fantastic arm and is incredibly mobile. He continued to play quarterback for the Northern Kentucky River Monsters, part of the Continental Indoor Football League, until a severe leg injury last year.

Some highlights of Lorenzen's big-bodied quarterbacking are below. It's not exactly encouragement for Winston to let his figure go, but it's proof that big men can still chuck a pigskin.

Happy Fat Tuesday.

Magic Johnson isn't shy about dispensing advice where he sees fit. In his estimation, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III needs some help getting his act together.

And Magic knows what he needs. From the NBA Hall of Famer's point of view, RG3 has been consumed with focus on his brand, even as his performance on the football field has suffered. A big part of his problem? Social media, says Magic.

"I don't want to see him on social media," Johnson said on ESPN Radio earlier this week. "I don't want him to talk about his workouts, lifting weights, because, oh, he's great. What I want him to do is show me that he's working on his technique to be a better football player and a better quarterback.

"That's the only thing I want to see, because that's what everybody's going to judge him by.”

A lot of people have felt it was their place to chime in on Griffin's practice and preparation habits, and his play has done nothing to stifle those criticisms. But Griffin also has a reputation of being quietly combative and adopting a me-against-the-world mindset.

Johnson went on to explain that, for as brand-savvy as anyone might be, branding only goes so far. The biggest strides, meanwhile, are made on the field. he points to Tom Brady has a fantastic brand, but that it was developed solely through his on-field success. Thanks to his product as a proven winner and great quarterback, Brady now enjoys a personal brand that carries beyond the gridiron.

That's the kind of brand with staying power. And Griffin, he points out, is a long, long way from reaching that point.

It isn't clear if Griffin heard Magic's comments about him, but even if he didn't, he posted a fairly telling picture to Instagram the day after Magic's interview:


First Work Out Done. Work. #NuffSaid

A photo posted by Robert Griffin III (@rgiii) on

Not long after, Griffin also used social media to announce his wife's pregnancy. Hard to fault him for his excitement. But if he wants his kid to grow up the child of an NFL starter, he's got some progress to make.


Syndicate content