Some things are just better left unsaid. Or tweeted.
Texas A&M University learned that lesson the hard way last week. And it looks like its ramifications could be deep and wide for one of America’s premier collegiate football programs.
In a nutshell, Texas A&M sacked itself. An assistant coach, a/k/a Wile E. Coyote, fired off an ill-advised tweet in a fit of pique over a five-star recruit de-committing to the Aggies.
One thing worse than an ill-advised tweet is several ill-advised tweets. Which Coach Coyote sent over the next hour. Around the midnight hour, no less. Those prompted another highly-rated commit to tweet that he wouldn’t be coming to Texas A&M either.
My purpose is not to go into detail about the ramifications of all of this on the fortunes of Aggie football. That would merely be just another opinion and not a particularly informed one at that.
There are, however, certain lessons anyone can take from this messy affair, no matter how or where they earn their living. For starters…
Don’t convey emotion, especially negative emotion, in writing. And especially past curfew. The written word should be reserved largely for information, facts and opinion. Granted, the line between “emotion” and “opinion” can be a bit muddled. But when you’re upset, much less angry about something is not the time to send a tweet. If you have a need to write out your frustrations, fine. But first, stick them in the proverbial drawer overnight and rethink it in the morning.
Second … and this is important … ask yourself what would be lost if you didn’t send it? In this case, nothing. Which gives rise to another question: What is gained by sending it? Again, nothing, especially in the case of Coach Coyote. I don’t know about you, but I rarely get in trouble for what I don’t say.
Lastly, let me borrow from one of the pearls of wisdom I share in our media training program that says “if your explanation takes longer than their accusation, you’re probably in serious trouble.” In this case, if a tweet requires one, much less several “explanation” tweets, you’re probably in some serious trouble. And you’re likely to make things worse.
Texas A&M has a mess on its hands. And it is of their own making and it was completely avoidable. One can imagine the words of an old country song running through Coach Coyote's mind these days … “I’d like to have that one back…” So, too, would Aggie fans everywhere.