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College Basketball: Seeds of brawl planted by Twitter gone bad

By Brad Senkiw
Scripps Howard News Service
Hanging out a birthday party last Saturday, I kept wandering over to the television to see the highlight over and over.
Iím not talking about Robert Griffin III holding up the Heisman Trophy or that everything-thatís-right-with-sports contest between Army and Navy or even the buzzer-beating shot Indiana used to knock off No. 1 Kentucky in hoops.
I should, actually, be writing about any of those other three, not what Iím about to dive into.
The nasty, embarrassing, unnecessary basketball brawl between Xavier and Cincinnati became the talk of the sports world on a sleepy December Saturday that belonged to anything else.
In case you missed it, Xavier was blowing out cross town rival Cincinnati when, in the final seconds, two players began mouthing off to each other on the court over some heated words exchanged before the game.
The incident escalated from pushing and shoving to full-blown brawl when Bearcatsí Yancy Gates threw a hard right hand into the face of Xavierís Kenny Frease, who was then kicked by Cheikh Mbod.
And after several more punches and pushes were recorded, the players were removed from the floor ó and four from each team will be removed from upcoming games.
It was really a despicable sight. There is no place for these actions in sports ó at any level. Hopefully, we all realize that part.
However, one of the sources behind the angst seen on the court stems from what was said on Twitter, the popular social networking site.
Apparently, thatís where the whole thing really got started.
It was just a few weeks ago that the world of Southeastern Conference football had a couple of ěTwitter-gatesî of its own.
South Carolina football players used an alleged tweet by Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd about his opinion of the Gamecock defensive line to help spark them to a 34-13 victory.
Then, shortly after the game, a tweet popped up on the Gamecock football account, mis-attributing a quote to coach Steve Spurrier. That sparked a rant from Tiger coach Dabo Swinney that will likely live in infamy for both sides.
The problem with Twitter is that even though thereís a 140-character maximum, you can still say too much. Oh, and everybody can read it.
Spurrier was wise to keep his players off of the site during football season. Yet now that the ban is lifted, there are certainly things said on there that really shouldnít be said.
For this nasty incident between two hoops rivals to be sparked by the same stupidity is immature.
Itís obvious that (young and older) adults canít handle whatís displayed on a simple website.
Until harder stances are taken and actions held more accountable for what becomes fodder for Internet roamers, what happened between Xavier and Cincinnati will occur again ó somewhere.
And itíll take headlines away from more deserving feats.

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