Dabo Swinney Makes Right Call in Banning Clemson Players from Twitter

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2013

Dabo Swinney is a Machiavellian coach—a man who believes that the ends justify the means.

Even if those means involve intruding (slightly) on free expression.

According to Kerry Capps of OrangeandWhite.com, Swinney has banned his Clemson Tigers from using Twitter during the season. In his own words:

The technology is fascinating, and all that’s happened in past 10-15 years. But it’s also very dangerous. We try to do a good job of educating our guys and correcting bad behavior when we get it. But then once as we get into the season, we’ll put all that stuff on the shelf. ...

If they say just one little thing just a little wrong—and these are young people—and in the world we live in, it's a firestorm and I'm having to deal with it. I don't like distractions—I hate distractions.

It's a little—OK, a lot—draconian, but Swinney's policy actually holds some merit from a pragmatic point of view.

It's a simple calculation of pros versus cons. For every Teddy Bridgewater visiting a sick student in the hospital, there are 10 Johnny Manziels sending combative tweets to trolls. The platform is useful as a way to aggregate news, but Swinney knows that's not what his players are doing.

They're using it as a way to become the news.

Those are distractions Swinney can't afford right now, and neither can his team. The Tigers harbor BCS national championship aspirations, which will require Zen-like focus for the next five months. And never is that more important than leading up to Week 1, when they'll face their stiffest test in the form of the Georgia Bulldogs.

This policy is sure to face some in-house backlash from players. Twitter is a viral form of communication among college students, and banning it from athletes removes them further from an organic college experience—something they've already sacrificed, in many ways, in order to play a sport.

Even so, defensive end Shaq Lawson seems to be taking it pretty well:

Swinney knows it's better to be feared than loved. In this case, if his players are prudent enough to appreciate his motives, there's no reason he can't be both.

Related

    CFB Player Shot Twice After Preventing Attempted Sexual Assault

    College Football logo
    College Football

    CFB Player Shot Twice After Preventing Attempted Sexual Assault

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Herm on What He's Learned 'Coaching Millennials'

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Herm on What He's Learned 'Coaching Millennials'

    Doug Samuels
    via FootballScoop

    Bama, Notre Dame to Play Home-and-Home Series

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Bama, Notre Dame to Play Home-and-Home Series

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Saban Named One of Fortune's Greatest World Leaders

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Saban Named One of Fortune's Greatest World Leaders

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report