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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Matt Leinart's Twitter account: if fake, should be removed

Earlier today I wrote a blog post regarding "Matt Leinart's tweet" where he supposedly wrote that Arizona Cardinals Quarterback Kurt Warner was "kinda old". The tweet was written on February 1st during the time of the Super Bowl where the Cards took on the Steelers in Tampa.

Obviously a story like this has some legs, so it carries. But now the claim in some quarters is the Twitter account is fake. The specific contact represents Arizona Cardinals Media Relations, which is an outrage. That the Cardinals knew this account existed and allowed it to remain active is terrible and a massive blunder. In a new media environment "media relations" does not stop at contacting the press, it also encompasses online content. For the Arizona Cardinals to not understand this is not good for its players or its organization. Shifting the blame toward me will not remove them of their responsibility. And not that I don't believe it's not fake but my concern is if Leinart and the Cardinals knew this account existed why it was allowed it to remain for so long? This is the month of August.

Online reputation management is something star athletes like Matt Leinart must pay attention to. As a consultant in this area, I've personally removed fake accounts and worked to improve the online image of clients. No, I'm not suggesting Leinart hire me, but this episode should serve as a causionary tale of why it's not a good idea to leave an account up and active.

Just because a Twitter account has tweets that stopped at a certain point is not enough to say it's not real - anything webpage (and that's what this is) that can be discovered in a search or has an active URL is real and that includes this Twitter account.

Matt needs to work with Twitter and have the account removed ASAP. It's not enough to rely on an obscure blog post as protection against misunderstood messages. Personally, I'm glad to learn the account's not Matt's, I hope, but I'm also very concerned that Matt's not taking the right steps to protect his online reputation.

Matt Leinart thinks Kurt Warner's "old" - a Twitter fake

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Matt Leinart at the 2006 NFL Draft:

Special Note: It's said that Matt Leinart does not use Twitter, but this account I report on below with his tweets on it back in February is still up and active. I wrote a new blog post about Matt's Twitter problem and the importance of online reputation management. Below is what I originally reported. It remains as a cautionary example of how not to handle one's digital identity. Hopefully Leinart takes the steps to remove the Twitter account, as should have been done months ago.

I happened to see the New York Times article focusing on NFL Coaches prohibiting players from using Twitter in meetings and during training camp. I had to chuckle because the Twitter frenzy is already alive with funny and controversial tweets all over the place. Just ask Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart, who tweeted this (as of this writing):

Locked and loaded, ready to make history if Kurt goes down. That Steeler D is mean, and Kurt's kinda old...9:46 AM Feb 1st from web

Wow, "Kurt's kinda old?" Matt. C'mom, man! This is the guy who beat you out for the starting job in Arizona. A guy who was brought to the Cardinals to "tutor" you in the ways of the NFL, and ended up showing you by example. Why share that you think he's old on Twitter? Did you think someone wouldn't see it?

No one saw the tweet

Apparently no one saw the tweet to even make a big deal about it at the time: February 1st. And given Twitters incredible growth in visitors since that time, I can assert that it wasn't even in the mindset of media types to look at Leinart's Twitter page, let alone report what he put on it.

"Kurt's kinda old?"

As we march toward the 2009 NFL season the Arizona Cardinals Leinart, who thinks "Kurt's kinda old" is now battling for the number two spot behind that old man against unknown journeyman signal-caller Brian St. Pierre. St. Pierre was drafted in 2003 and played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens before signing with the Cardinals.

By contrast, Leinart was drafted in 2006 amid much fanfare and anticipation. But it seems, starting from his being drafted 10th by the Cardinals rather than 3rd by the Tennessee Titans (who picked Texas quarterback Vince Young), Leinart's NFL ride would be a bumpy one. At the 2006 NFL Draft Leinart had to deal with questions about his fall from the being the expected first or third pick to being the 10th selection. Now, he's got to deal with questions about his inability to beat a couple of old guys.

Since Warner and St. Pierre are both older than Leinart, it seems those elderly gents are eating his lunch. If St. Pierre wins the number two spot over Leinart, I guess we should look for Matt to tweet "Brian's kinda old" at some point in the season. Or maybe Leinart will switch to cornerback:

Maybe I'll switch to corner next year -- jk10:15 PM Feb 1st from web

Well, he was just kidding there. 

Watch what you tweet

The lesson here is simple: watch what you tweet. Matt, of all people, should know better. He's a two-time All American National Champion out of USC, and so successful that Cal fans all over both respect and hate him. Personally, I root for Matt, always have, but sometimes that dude does things that make me cringe, this tweet is one of them.

"Kurt's kinda old?"

Matt, you should pray to be in the league as long as Kurt has and achieve Warner's success over that time. But right now, the only "old man" you should concern yourself with is Brian St. Pierre. I know you're up to the challenge he presents. I know you can win the number two job - just go out and do it, because if you don't a lot of people will be disappointed in you. At that point, the idea that the NFL means "Not For Long" will come up in conversations about your career.

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