Evidently, there should be a rule for all athletes in the public eye -- hell, even for those who aren't -- that social media is not your friend. There's a smoldering battlefield littered with casualties. Names like Kenny Britt and Rashard Mendenhall come to mind, but they are just some of the most recent examples. Now, there's a new name to add to the list of "Athletes Who've Fallen Victim to Social Media," and his name is Marc Tyler.
Unless you follow college football, you may not be aware of Tyler's existence, at least until yesterday. But now, thanks to a video that's blowing up on TMZ, coupled with the American public's burning desire to watch football again, Marc Tyler is trending topic (in the public's eye, not on Twitter). Before the video, a little background on Tyler: He's a senior running back at the University of Southern California (USC), and he comes from professional football player stock, as his dad, Wendell Tyler, played in the NFL for 10 seasons.
Son Marc has simply following in dad's successful footsteps, although, without the same degree of success. In fact, Tyler the Younger was already dealing with fallout for an alcohol-related incident. That pales to the degree of scrutiny Tyler faces now, thanks to the "look what fell in our laps" level of reporting from TMZ. The video in question:
TMZ's annoying production values aside, as well as Tyler's amusing quips about USC running backs getting a shot at Kim Kardashian -- I doubt Kris Humphries laughed -- the kicker of the video is when the guy with the video camera on his phone asks Tyler if he got paid more at USC than in the pros, a common refrain of sports fans who
USC, they breaking bread!
And now, Tyler has been suspended for USC's upcoming season opener against the University of Minnesota. Welcome to the town of "Brilliant Moves by People of Interest," Mark Tyler. Enjoy your stay. It's funny how, in two seconds (the amount of time it took for the words to leave Tyler's mouth as he begins to answer the question), a person can go from "Eh, Mark Tyler's a decent running back who should contribute nicely to USC's upcoming season" to "what an idiot" just that quickly.
Naturally, Tyler has issued the appropriate responses and insists his response was a joke. Nevertheless, Tyler's father completely supports USC's decision to discipline his son, based on direct comments on ESPN Radio this morning, as the lesson in dealing with people in the social media age is no doubt resonating throughout the Tyler household. Perhaps even more ironic is USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin's response to the suspension:
"That is not the way that we expect our players to represent USC and our team," Kiffin said in a statement, adding, "Although Marc may find this punishment severe, it is imperative we continue to have a high standard for player behavior."
Ask Tennessee Volunteers fans about the high standard of behavior, especially in relation to a potentially-hypocritical head coach who ran from Knoxville like a thief in the night. It's doubtful they'd find Kiffin's response amusing in the least, but I digress.
As for Tyler, he's just another in the ever-growing list of people who doesn't seem to understand how to navigate through a social media-connected world. It probably shouldn't be as difficult as the Marc Tylers and Kenny Britts make it, but here we are, once again.