|Social-media using players beware: big brother is watching following the Manti Te'o hoax. (USATSI)|
If Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend has taught us one thing, it's this: you can never be too careful when you're using social media. Te'o's much-talked about catfish situation has some NFL teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, monitoring players' social media use more closely heading into the combine.
"One thing we've done this year, we've done a lot of digging on social media and have a pretty in-depth picture of these players that are involved and not involved in social media," Vikings general manager Rick Speilman said. "How many times they tweet or twit, I don't know, I'm not a technical guy. But it's interesting to see the patterns on some of these social media players."
Speilman acknowledged that the Te'o situation played a part in Minnesota's heightened interest in players' social media use. "It's a lot more in-depth this year because of the highlight of what happened with [Te'o]," Speilman said.
One player the Vikings won't be able to closely monitor online? Te'o. That's because the former Notre Dame linebacker shut down his Twitter account in early February so he could focus on preparing for the draft.
The Te'o fake girlfriend hoax may have been a big story nationally, but Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano doesn't think it will be a big story for most teams at the combine, "Some people will see him one way; some will see him another," Schiano told USA Today. "It [the hoax] will only be a small piece, but we're not going to spend all of our time on that, I can guarantee you that."
The fake girlfriend problems might be limited to Te'o right now, but the social media problems are not. Seahawks general manager John Schneider had an interesting social media story that's arguably worse than Te'o's, at least in the eyes of the law. "A couple of years ago, I think there was a guy who had something with a pile of coke and a couple of guns sitting there," Schneider said, referring to an unnamed player's Facebook profile. "That kind of stuff doesn't bode real well. I know my boss really wouldn't like that."
The lesson here: don't post anything illegal online, make sure you meet your girlfriend in person and remember that someone's always watching on the internet.
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