Frederickson: If fans can rake Franklin on Twitter, he can fire back

ST. LOUIS — Boy, did James Franklin screw

up.

Yes, Mizzou’s quarterback talked himself into

trouble Tuesday, and it was really, really bad.

“What

were some of your reactions from your first season in the SEC, to some

of the fans?” a reporter asked Franklin at SEC media day No.

1.

Franklin’s teammate, receiver L’Damian Washington,

had previously said South Carolina fans were rude. And because a quote

like Washington’s offered an answer that was not a cliche, the reporter

probably figured it was worth seeing what Franklin would

say.

First, the senior laughed.

Then — really, you’re not going to believe this —

he went after his own.

“Well, actually, probably the

rudest fans I experienced were Mizzou,” Franklin

said. “My own fans. Once I kind of did bad, they were not

saying some nice things to me. So, I really don’t try to pay attention

to that stuff. But just for the books, I would say I heard some pretty

not-so-nice comments from my own fans. But football is football.

Everyone can say what they want to.”

Cue an angry

Mizzou Nation.

Who does this kid think he is, taking a

shot at the loyal fans who cheer for him and his

team?

Surely, as Franklin’s comments made their way

from Alabama to Missouri in bits and pieces via Twitter, some folks

would respectfully tell the quarterback his comments weren’t cool,

right?

Well

then.

It turns out the Mizzou fan base Franklin took a

(mostly lighthearted) jab at has some members who can be a little

unpleasant at times.

Maybe, if more people realized

that, they would become less appalled by what Franklin said, and more

concerned about what is being said to Franklin and any other college

athlete in this country brave enough to own a Twitter

account.

Everyone realizes that is where Franklin

hears the not-so-nice comments, right?

I highly doubt

people are sending hate mail to the Mizzou athletic department. In

fact, if they took the time to write things out instead of firing

140-character cheap shots, they probably wouldn’t say anything at

all.

But online, impulse rules. And if the social

media environment Franklin lived in during a turbulent,

injury-ridden 2012 season was anything like it was

Tuesday, chances are there were comments about him, some sent

to directly to him, that might have been hard to

shake.

Franklin must

have realized he made some people angry. He somewhat backpedaled on his

initial remarks, telling reporters later in the day he was

referring to one comment made by one Mizzou fan. But that

evening, he expanded his scope once again when he posted the following

message on Twitter and Instagram.

I hope Franklin’s

reversal shows he has decided it’s OK to call out fans who cross the

line. As he said in his original statement, “Everyone can say

what they want to.” Everyone should include the quarterback,

too.
 

Follow Ben

Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at

frederickson.ben@gmail.com.