Payton doesn't endorse his players creating Twitter accounts, but doesn't ban his players from having them either. Payton has talked to his team about how tweeting is a mini news conference to the masses. The last thing Payton wants is his players throwing out bulletin board material.
|'I'm done with that,' Darren Sharper says of his Twitter feud with the Vikings' Visanthe Shiancoe. (US Presswire)|
Shut up, now.
Sharper, for once, had obliged.
It's not typically in Sharper's DNA to shut down the chirping. He chirps on the field. He chirps off the field. He chirped to the Saints during free agency saying he wasn't being shown enough love by the team. Sharper seems to have heard Payton's message loud and clear by Sharper's reaction Friday afternoon following the Saints' second minicamp practice.
"I'm done with that," Sharper said. "Let that ride. Like one of my favorite rappers [Jay-Z] says, 'Be like LeBron, be too big to respond.' So that's what I'm going to be like."
When asked if Sharper got the message, Payton said, "I hope so. He better."
By now you've heard how Sharper foolishly threw on the Twitter boxing gloves with the Vikings by writing his "X marks the spot" tweet in reference to the surgically repaired ankle of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. Of course, the Vikings didn't take kindly to what Sharper was implying.
It escalated this week as Shiancoe posted a picture of terrorist Osama Bin Laden with "42" written in red ink across Bin Laden's chest along with one of those comic book conversational bubbles reading, "I'm Darren Sharper." The picture was also riddled with bullet holes at a shooting range.
Then Sharper blasted his "friend" via Twitter and was obviously offended (who wouldn't be?):
"Ok homeboy you done went too far, making me out to be something that has brought this country alot of heartache."
"Imma bust you right under your chinstrap from the first play on. I don't care about the fine. F the money Imma do it for the red,white&blue"
"And you'll see me cuz I'll be dressed in black & gold. Protect your neck that's all the warning you get."
Then Shiancoe couldn't let his "buddy" have the last word:
"Those statements were the epitome of a crooked politician.. have some class 'homeboy.'"
"You are the FURTHEST thing from a physical safety.. even you know that your sofT with a capital "T!" You remind me of a growling chihuahua.."
"Don't get your jaw broken trying to be a tough guy. Stay 'sofT' and be yourself.. a ball hawk."
Shiancoe also tweeted that some members of the National Guard had set up the Sharper/Bin Laden target for him and he simply used it for target practice.
At least one player didn't read much into the Twitter knife fight.
"They can't talk to each other in person so why not tweet about?" said Saints safety Roman Harper, who's also on Twitter. "Sharp's getting attention, which he loves. Visanthe's getting attention. I don't personally know him, but I guess he loves it, too. It's working and you all are talking about it. They're definitely getting their points across. That's what they want."
Harper said he found the whole feud "very comical." He also recognized that Twitter is for the world to see that many people would be offended, Sharper included, if they were depicted as Bin Laden.
"I guess sometimes you can cross that line," Harper said. "They're definitely flirting with the line. You never know who reads it and they could be sensitive about the whole thing. You don't ever want to cross that line. I just think those guys are having a good time."
Harper did say he'd never put out a picture of Bin Laden and say it was someone else. Payton didn't necessarily say it was the Bin Laden picture that put him over the edge, but once he caught wind of the whole chatter, he had enough.
"When you Twitter, it's a press conference," Payton said. "It's something we talked about a year ago and something that we talked about this week. Bottom line is that we're sitting here in June. I haven't really paid much attention to it until just really the last 24 hours and seen the various comments going back and forth. I just think it's fairly silly sitting here in the month of June talking about two players. It would be different if they were texting each other."
The silly part of it wasn't that the media is covering it in Payton's eyes. It's the fact that both Sharper and Shiancoe are making such a spectacle and the way it escalated between the two "friends."
"I don't anticipate it being anymore of an issue," Payton said.
When asked about Payton calling the feud "silly," Sharper said, "He didn't use that word with me. ... He had a couple of words for me. ... The first game will be the time to talk and let the action show."
In the meantime, Darren, throw out your Blackberry, iPhone or whatever you use to show "love" to Shiancoe. Come September, you -- or even worse, Drew Brees -- could be on the receiving end of a cheap shot.
And that will sting a tad bit more than a tweet.