Not sure how many major college football players are following the Ed O’Bannon trial, but if they are, they learned a couple things Monday morning.
Lesson No. 1: Big Brother may be watching you by following you on Twitter.
Lesson No. 2: Anything you say on Twitter can be used against you in a court of law.
Just more reasons for major college football programs to ban their players from using social media or, better yet, for the players themselves to just say no.
Former Vanderbilt linebacker Chase Garnham – or as the NCAA likes to call him, @ChuckG36 – learned those two lessons as he took the stand for the second day in U.S. District Court in Oakland as a witness for the O’Bannon plaintiffs. According to SI.com’s Andy Staples, the NCAA tried to attack Garnham’s assertion that he felt like an athlete first and a student second in an interesting way.
By introducing some of his Twitter comments as a rebuttal.
Based on those comments, using the NCAA’s logic, the Fairhope native had plenty of free time on his hands that he could’ve spent studying. After all, he’d tweeted at different times that he watched all eight seasons of Entourage and a Walking Dead marathon.
Ooh. The horror.
Of course, Garnham did manage to earn his Vanderbilt degree so he must’ve put down the remote and picked up a book or two beyond the playbook during his time in school.
The NCAA noted that academic accomplishment by introducing another Garnham tweet. That one from last Dec. 23 included a photo of his diploma and said, “My favorite Christmas present just came in the mail.”
Tell me the NCAA hasn’t pinned its defense in maybe the most important legal proceeding in its history to a linebacker’s TV-watching habits and other assorted musings described in 140-character bites.
It’s alarming that the NCAA’s legal eagles spent part of their time preparing for the O’Bannon trial by poring over Garnham’s Twitter account to try to make their case. Twitter is infamous for idle and exaggerated boasts as well as factual inaccuracies. Just ask Alabama’s Amari Cooper.
The real one. Not the impostor with the fake Twitter account.
Let this be a lesson to every tight end or defensive tackle who thinks it’s a good idea to tweet out every thought he has every moment he has it or to share a selfie flashing a wad of cash.
Even if you’re kidding, the NCAA may be watching, and Mark Emmert and company aren’t famous for their sense of humor.