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Texas Longhorns Twitter Zeitgeist: Kris Boyd Learns About Twitter

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People are terrible.

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Tragically, there is no reset button in life. On Saturday, things went to hell quickly for the Texas Longhorns, who were massacred by the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University.

But let's take a week off from the usual social media scuttle that we get after a game like this (and Lord knows there have been a few games like this). Let's instead focus on a couple different things that happened during the game.

And Now, Let's Throw it To Mack Brown at the Half

Weird is the only word I could think of to describe Mack Brown playing the analyst role while discussing the Texas football program, although @HumbleTeej's choice of "awkward" might be more descriptive.

It was pretty odd asking Brown to weigh in on national television on the plight of the Longhorns, and he handled it about as well as he could.

Brown cannot make anyone happy in this situation; a sizable portion of the Texas fan base will be satisfied by no explanation from Brown short of taking complete responsibility followed by a public seppuku ritual. And Brown is not going to do that.

He is also not going to publicly bash Charlie Strong or going to comment on Texas' players in a meaningful way, throwing a bunch of kids he recruited under the proverbial bus. Instead, he just made a few bland comments, and moved on. Some days, you just have to survive and advance.

ESPN is giving Brown a lot of work these days. He has in-booth duty on Friday night games and is a studio analyst on Saturday. The standard sports studio show is a fairly limiting medium, with the studio analyst rarely given much of a chance to shine, so calling some games will give him more opportunity to improve as an analyst.

I do wonder if Brown will ever get to a point where he is a strong analyst of football. He has spent years as a head coach, and if nothing else was tremendously disciplined in never saying much of anything interesting to the press. That is probably a good trait for a head coach, but it is a habit that he needs to break to do better in his new role.

We can still have jokes while he is getting the hang of things:

Kris Boyd Learns About Twitter

During halftime of Saturday's game, freshman cornerback Kris Boyd apparently took a few minutes to check his mentions on Twitter, and retweeted a couple of messages.

One was a message of support, while the other was from a Texas A&M fan who might have been doing what the kids these days call "trolling."

Boyd then put his phone away and went back out to play the second half. While this happened, all hell broke loose.

Third-rate clickbait bottom feeders jumped all over this:

As did some more reputable outlets:

At this point, it is becoming hard to tell the difference between the bottom feeders and the reputable outlets. But both of the headlines tweeted with these two articles are indefensible and absurd. I hope it was worth the clicks to The Sporting News, and that its editors understand what its peers look like.

It is of course possible to interpret Boyd's retweeting of Danny Duron's initial tweet as expressing a desire to transfer, but that is far from the only conclusion that we can draw. And in fact it isn't even the most likely one, particularly in light of his rather unambiguous statement today.

Retweeting is not the same as endorsing a particular viewpoint, and it isn't unusual for people to retweet messages sent to them, even if they are not of the positive variety. People do retweet trolls. All the time.

It turns out Boyd tweets and retweets a lot, leaving us a perfectly reasonable alternative explanation.

While I don't want to spend too much additional time speculating on Boyd's motivations for retweeting the message (his statements indicate that it was just a misunderstanding), it is worth addressing the fact that he was on Twitter at halftime. Charlie Strong probably doesn't want him to do this, I would imagine. He will surely come up with an appropriate remedy. This isn't something to otherwise get worked up about. Make Boyd run a few extra sprints, and tell him not to do it again.

I will add that I don't think there is anything immoral about being on Twitter during the halftime of a game; in fact, people seem to find Nebraska basketball coach Tim Miles' halftime tweets about the game charming. But if I were a coach I wouldn't want my players on social media during a game.

Not surprisingly, Boyd's mentions got pretty ugly on Saturday afternoon.

For those of you who don't understand how Twitter works, I need to explain what you are looking at. Whenever a tweet includes a person's Twitter handle in a message, it alerts the person who was mentioned. So if you write @jeffchaley in your tweets, they will pop up in my mentions (unless I have blocked or muted you, which if you make a habit of doing this I may consider doing). So these people, including a prototypical Twitter egg named "michael," are sending these messages directly to Boyd.

I am going to cut @_Jnabb_ a little slack here, as by the looks of his profile he is not much older than Boyd.

Here is the thing. As fans, Kris Boyd owes us nothing.

Boyd is a college football player, and as things go, he is accountable to his teammates and his coaches. He is not accountable to us. I know that some people will likely respond to this statement by saying that fans spend money, go to the games, buy the licensed apparel, and basically provide the capital needed to run big time college sports. Without the fans there wouldn't be big time college football, and this buys fans the right to say whatever they want to the players.

But this is total nonsense. Kris Boyd is an amateur NCAA student-athlete. He plays football in exchange for a college scholarship. While it is a very nice thing to receive a college scholarship, it doesn't mean scholarship athletes should have to put up with boorish behavior on social media. A lot of people receive college scholarships -- some for sports, some for grades, some for playing the trombone, some for providing their likeness to the dairy industry to be rendered in butter -- and the fact that they get part or all of their education paid for doesn't justify this crap.

Honestly, if most of the fans went away and major college sports disappeared from the face of the earth, I suspect it might make the world a better place. If Texas football looked more like D-II ball, or football at an Ivy League school or McGill University, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

The big time nature of college football and the relative fame it bestows on young people does not give you an excuse to be an asshole.

So @_Jnabb_, let me tell you very clearly that Kris Boyd does not owe you an apology; he owes you nothing. The fact that he did issue an apology is his decision. But you are not entitled to it.

And while @_Jnabb_ may be young enough to let slide, the next person should know better.

I consider myself to be an adult. I'm 39 years old with a mortgage, a wife, two dogs, and a good job. And as an adult, I don't find sending rude messages to teenagers to be acceptable behavior.

So let me give all the Twitter keyboard warriors out there a bit of advice. Whenever you start to think about sending a nasty message to a teenager, put down your phone, take a sip of water, and consider what you are doing. And consider how that tweet will look when it is reproduced on a widely read sports blog next to a picture of your face.

In a strange way, I found perusing Kris Boyd's mentions reassuring. Because while there was a lot of hate directed at him, there were also a lot of people sticking up for him, and sending words of support.

Not everyone on the Internet is a terrible person. It can be good to be reminded of that sometimes.

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