A study in social media: The misTweetment of Jay Cutler

I had no real feelings about Jay Cutler before Sunday, but now I do. And the feeling I have is pity for having been tried and found guilty of dereliction of duty in the high court of …

Twitter.

Social media allows us to type anything at any time for the consumption of a ravenous public. Anything a famous person types is treated seriously because that person happens to be … well, famous. (Not necessarily smart or wise or expert in grammar, but famous nonetheless.) When Cutler was unable to finish the NFC championship game, a host of pro football players — some current, some former, none of whom happened to be otherwise occupied with a game of their own — ganged up on Cutler via Twitter.

From Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville: “All I’m saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee … I played the whole season on one.”

Also from Jones-Drew: “Hey, I think the Urban Meyer rule is in effect right now. When the going gets tough … QUIT.”

From Derrick Brooks, formerly of Tampa Bay: “HEY there is no medicine for a guy with no guts and heart.”

We pause here to congratulate Jones-Drew on his new career as a diagnostician and Brooks for his post-NFL venture as both gastroenterologist and cardiologist. And now we move on.

From Deion Sanders, serial preener: “I’m telling you in the playoffs you must drag me off the field. All the medicine in pro locker rooms this dude comes out! I apologize, Bear fans! . . . Folks I never question a player’s injury but I do question a player’s heart.”

Also from Deion: “I better see Dr.  [James] Andrews operate live on Cutler and [backup Todd] Collins tonight after the game on NFL network. Truth.”

Here we note that the same Deion Sanders left the Atlanta Braves in the middle of a postseason series to fly to Miami to play for the Falcons. (He was back, via private plane,  for that night’s baseball game in Pittsburgh, but his relationship with the Braves never recovered.) And again we move on.

From Gerald Alexander, Carolina safety: “I’ve never played in a playoff game. This guy was one game away and he quit! That’s BS!”

And here we note that if any player would seem to know something about pain, it would be a Panther: Carolina lost 14 times in 16 games, which put the Panthers not one game away from the Super Bowl but a dozen. And yet again we move on.

From Darnell Dockett, Arizona tackle: “If I’m on [the] Chicago team, Jay Cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room! #FACT”

From Mark Schlereth, lineman-turned-ESPN-chatterbox: “As a guy who had 20 knee surgeries, you’d have to drag me out on a stretcher to Leave a championship game! #justsaying”

And now we say: Enough. We get the drift: According to these “experts,” all of whom were apparently privy to e-mailed copies of Cutler’s X-rays, the guy chickened out. But what none of these Tweeting fingers and thumbs managed to answer was this rather basic question:

Why would any pro athlete choose not to play if he’s physically able?

Don’t tell me it’s because he’s a wimp. (Cutler was sacked more than any other NFL quarterback this season.) Don’t tell me it’s because he was afraid to fail. (Pro athletes are different from normal people: They always believe their next play will be the one that wins the game.) Don’t tell me it’s because the moment was too big for him. (Pro athletes spend their lives readying for such a moment.)

I don’t know what Cutler’s MRI — scheduled for today — will show, but I know what we’ve just witnessed. We’ve seen a bunch of guys sitting around watching a game choose to deploy Twitter as a cudgel. These guys weren’t in the Bears’ locker room at halftime. They weren’t standing on the sideline as Cutler stood by himself while his understudies worked. They had no more insight on this specific knee injury than anyone else watching (or not watching, for that matter). They were just mouthing off via their QWERTY keyboards.

Cutler is an intriguing case: He’s an irascible guy often faulted for not being as good a quarterback as he could/should be. It’s OK if you don’t happen to like him. Lots of folks don’t. But nobody deserved this tweetment. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

Much later, one of the bashers seemed almost repentant. Tweeted Dockett: “I never questioned Cutler’s injury! But I know in an NFC championship game and I’m the QB? I’m gonna deal with the pain or whatever to win!”

Sure. Right. Whatever.

UPDATE: Bears coach Lovie Smith says today’s MRI revealed a sprain of Cutler’s medial collateral ligament.

By Mark Bradley

152 comments Add your comment

Buck Commander

January 24th, 2011
10:52 am

First on Monday!!

Rickster

January 24th, 2011
10:54 am

#$%^ Second!

Mark Bradley

January 24th, 2011
10:55 am

Buck Commander: Another week, another “first.” Kudos.

Rickster

January 24th, 2011
10:56 am

21-14 Baby!! (I own one share of Packers stock, btw.)

Mark Bradley

January 24th, 2011
10:58 am

Kudos for that, Rickster.

Rickster

January 24th, 2011
10:59 am

It will be interesting to see what the MRI shows. My wife tore a meniscus, but the doctor looked at her x-ray and said there was nothing wrong with her knee. Of course, X-rays don’t show damage to tendons, etc.

Till the results of the MRI are known, judgement should be withheld.

[...] and more »Loopz Game Via A study in social media: The misTweetment of Jay Cutler – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Rickster

January 24th, 2011
11:03 am

And if a healthy second (or even third) string quarterback can be more effective than an injured starter, isn’t it in the teams best interest for the starter to take himself out?

Mark Bradley

January 24th, 2011
11:03 am

I say again: If a big-time athlete is healthy enough to play, why wouldn’t he?

Mavis Beacon

January 24th, 2011
11:06 am

I’m surprised that some of these steroid-infused NFL knuckleheads can operate a computer and articulate the English language well enough to trash Mr. Cutler in the first place.

TLanceB

January 24th, 2011
11:09 am

excellent…just wrote something similar:

http://www.lance-myblogcanbeatupyourblog.blogspot.com

Lance

Jay Cutler

January 24th, 2011
11:10 am

jp

January 24th, 2011
11:11 am

He doesn’t play cause he doesn’t want to get embarased. He knew he didn’t have it that day and he knew he wasn’t coming back on that defense with his offensive line getting mauled every play.

Bradley, I have respect for you cause you stick up for what you believe in but you know that you’re wrong about this and I think you just want to create some conversation.

Cutler is a loser, he was one at Vandy and when he moved on to the Pros. The guy has a golden arm but he doesn’t have the heart or the intangilbles of a Matt Ryan. Matty would have never quit on his team like that. He would have figured out a way to work something out like the fact he never gave up against GB two weeks ago when they were getting drubbed.

Bradley open up your mind a little bit and think from Cutler’s perspective, heck I might have done the same thing. But, in saying that what I”m implying is that I’m not wired like Matt Ryan or Tom Brady. I don’t have their will to win.

Ramguy

January 24th, 2011
11:12 am

Cutler played all year. I know he got hurt sometime during the season but in the 1st few games the Bears O-line was horrendous and he played most of the way. I don’t see him taking himself out unless he was hurt.

Rich T

January 24th, 2011
11:13 am

It’s just more of the “guilty until proven innocent” mentality that has evolved from the 24/7 worldwide coverage of everything under the sun, combined with the ability to say anything we want to everyone who will listen, because we can and they will.

The Dude

January 24th, 2011
11:13 am

Torn MCL. That’s not and injury you can play with without a custom fit brace… but you still risk a worse tear.. ACL or PCL.

Joycee Banicheck

January 24th, 2011
11:13 am

Speaking of medical status, whats the stat of the Falcons after flat lining in the divisional round against GB?

Michael G.

January 24th, 2011
11:14 am

A Bear player is quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times this morning as saying he was surprised to see Cutler even attempt to play the first series in the 3rd quarter. The player said he saw Cutler’s knee “just dangling” there.

Be upset cause your team lost, Bears fans, but dont question whether this guy wanted to be out there or not. It’s completely unfair.

The Dude

January 24th, 2011
11:15 am

Mike Jay

January 24th, 2011
11:15 am

Early reports are that he tore the MCL. Not as bad as the ACL and sometimes does not require surgery. Some folks have played through it but everyone and every injury is different. Seems to me that a bunch of sore grapes sitting home on the couch are picking on a guy who led his team to the playoffs.

Deion, you should be more sympathetic seeing as a toe injury ended your career. I am sure you have had to defend that numerous times so keep that in mind next time you mouth off.

Mike Jay

January 24th, 2011
11:17 am

That is sour grapes…though sore might fit as well.

Bat Masterson

January 24th, 2011
11:19 am

Give people a forum and the idiots will be out front.

GW

January 24th, 2011
11:19 am

I wonder why Pittsburgh Steeler center Pouncey did not get the same Twitter treatment. Probably because he is just a center. NFL QBs live in one hell of a fish bowl.

Time

January 24th, 2011
11:19 am

Absolutely shameful what these players and former players are doing to the guy. I’m no Cutler fan, but the guy got hammered at Vandy and played, got hammered all year long in Chicago, sacked what 50 something times and kept playing. He says he’s hurt, the coaches didn’t put him back in. That should be good enough for anyone. I can’t wait till the MRI comes back and it says torn MCL and these fools have to eat their words. Not that they’ll actually apologize. Like the regular media, the social media thinks it’s their right to say whatever they want about someone without any accountability for their words when they’re wrong.

Which is the irony of this column. Bradley, you’re making your living these days doing the exact same thing these idiot players did. Twitter, blog hits, blah blah blah. It’s all the same. I’m just surprised you’re not trying to hype up a Cutler Cup of UGA players you think should have played when they were hurt.

The Dude

January 24th, 2011
11:19 am

Deion was one of the biggest wusses in pro sports, if my memory serves me correctly. He never hit anyone.

The Dude

January 24th, 2011
11:20 am

Time… sign up for twitter, dude. The announcement of MCL tear has already been made.

Larry

January 24th, 2011
11:21 am

Mavis,

You call that “English?”

This is the same Deion Sanders who exclaimed he was “fustrated” with a later version he entitled “flustrated.”

Like Vick, anyone who starts a sentence with “we was” likely has never opened an English book. For the life of me I can’t understand how they are admitted to, advance year after year, and even some actually receive degrees from these public universities! Can someone help me with this? I mean, they are taking their own tests, aren’t they? :-)

What I Saw

January 24th, 2011
11:21 am

Why is everybody crying? The third stringer played better than Culter.

Bat Masterson

January 24th, 2011
11:24 am

Toes are not to be trifled with.

How many tackles did Deion have in his career? I mean come on, dude you were not exactly known for your physical play.

Ben

January 24th, 2011
11:24 am

Mark, did you ever think that Cutler might just be a big baby? He might be a high paid athelete but that doesn’t mean he automatically has the HEART to go out and play. I think you give these big time athletes way too much credit.

cowboys67

January 24th, 2011
11:25 am

I will nver say a guy has know heart or he quit my problem with Cutler was the fact that he wasn’t even trying to help a rookie free agent qb win the game. The way u show that you are a true team player is standing right next to Hanie giving him guidance making sure u r sharing your knowledge on GB’S defense to me that was indefensible on Cutler.

Jay Cutler

January 24th, 2011
11:25 am

Ouch, my knee and my pinky hurts

Clayton Falcon

January 24th, 2011
11:25 am

If a great QB like Mike Vick can overcome the adversity of having his crotch on fire from Herpes to play and still win the NFL MVP Award, somebody like Jake Cutler need to be able to play with a sore little knee.

What I Saw

January 24th, 2011
11:26 am

Why is everyone crying? The third stringer played better than Culter.

El Bravo

January 24th, 2011
11:30 am

I can’t stand Jay Cuttler. He is and has always been a punk. But I will never doubt his toughness or desire to play the game of football (or any other player’s for that matter). He was sacked 52 times this season! If he can’t plant on his back leg he can’t throw the ball effectively. I am sure that the team did what they needed to do to try to win the game. He’s still a punk tough…

murfdawg

January 24th, 2011
11:30 am

Who can face the Packer defense with one leg? Cutler had two good legs in the first half and produced no points. I think a Jay cutler on one leg cannot beat the packers. How did Ryan and the Falcons do with all their legs healthy? Also, I thought the ultimate decision was made by the medical staff and the coaches, not just Cutler.

By the way, how many tackles did Deion make in his career? I mean real tackles. He was the biggest sissy to ever play defensive back. He did a lot of other things really well. But not tackling.

P.S. What about Pouncey? He left in the first quarter of a championship game with a SPRAIN.

Russ Belville

January 24th, 2011
11:31 am

“I wonder why Pittsburgh Steeler center Pouncey did not get the same Twitter treatment. Probably because he is just a center. NFL QBs live in one hell of a fish bowl.”

Maybe because Pouncey had to be helped off the field, immediately laid down on a cart, and didn’t stand around on the sidelines on his blown-out knee.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Derrick Ford, BEF, Brannan Atkinson, Sergio, Steve Momorella and others. Steve Momorella said: A study in social media: The misTweetment of Jay Cutler – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) http://bit.ly/g3Ingf #socialmedia [...]

A3

January 24th, 2011
11:32 am

Agreed. We don’t know exactly what happened to Cutlers knee and even when we find out on Monday these people will not let him live it down. I get it… I understand the frustration with your starting QB sitting (or standing) on the sidelines in such a historic game. But, we just don’t know what happened to his knee. The tweet bashing is ridiculous. Overall… GO PACKERS!

Scooter

January 24th, 2011
11:34 am

I think that anyone who has the freedom to just write any stupid thing they want should be stopped at all costs. It is reckless. It is dangerous. It is a threat to sanity and good judgement everywhere. That is why I am beginning a movement to stop Mark Bradley from ever writing again. He is one moron that should never be allowed to give his opinion on anything at any time, and anywhere.

Brian

January 24th, 2011
11:35 am

I think there’s a few things to consider here beyond the “oh poor Jay” crap. Yes, he’s getting burned by some “pros” who are so good they’re playing the role of keyboard commando at home during playoff season. Yes, that’s sort of rediculous. Yes, he shouldn’t be questioned by people that don’t have ALL the facts.

But let’s be realistic, we have a lot of facts. If you watched the game you saw Cutler walking around the sideline without a limp. You saw him riding a bike without any apparent difficutly. With a knee injury if it’s serious enough for a Dr. to tell Cutler he should sit, you would think it would have been immobilized or at least had a brace on it.

Now let’s make a comparison to someone who would have the right to call him out, Ben Rothlesberger. Did anyone watch the week 13 game vs the Ravens? Ben had a broken foot, they said they put 6 rolls of tape on it and a special cleat to protect it. The guy had the courage to start anyway, and early in the first quarter took a fist through his facemask that busted his nose. You could visibly see his nose bent at a 45 degree angle, the blood on his jersey. But does he go take a seat on the sideline? No. The guy sacks up, in a REGULAR SEASON game, and leads his team to a win. I’m sure he was in pain, I’m sure he wasn’t 100%, but he damn sure found a way to make it work because he’s a competitor and he is able to make that extra effort for his teammates.

The fact of the matter is Jay Cutler has been on thin ice with Chicago fans for a long time. His 2009 season was a disaster, his 2010 season has only been better because the Bears have started to focus on a running game instead of trying to rely on him to be consistantly productive. They have a defense that miraculously keeps them in games that should never even be close, and they have a special teams X factor that is arguably better than any in the NFL. The bears didn’t get to a Championship game on Jay Cutler’s ability to quarterback, plain and simple. So one game from the Superbowl, against a powerhouse like Green Bay, the offense needed to provide some help, and in typical Cutler fashion he failed under pressure, and then bailed in a halfass attempt to save face.

I would be suprised if the Bears start 2011 with Cutler, their 3rd string quarterback put him to shame for god’s sake.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Mike Davis, Eddie Maisonet, III, Social Answers, T Lance B and others. T Lance B said: Yeah, this: – RT – @Angie_Dawg RT @MarkBradleyAJC: A study in social media: The mistweetment of #JayCutler. #NFL http://bit.ly/iaKtb4 [...]

Dumbo

January 24th, 2011
11:36 am

Cutler QUIT on his teammates……look at how many QB were beat up during the season….the QB is the leader of the team, he can’t pull out unless he can’t walk…heck fire, look at Chris Simms he finished a game with his spleen ruptured and no on would ever question his heart after that, maybe question his talent level, but not his toughness & heart. CUTLER IS A QUITTER.

goski99

January 24th, 2011
11:36 am

@ cowboys67: that is the 1st intelligent analysis of this situation I have read

Herschel Talker

January 24th, 2011
11:37 am

MB:

The problem isn’t so much the injury; maybe he really was injured that badly. The problem is that he was such a sourpuss and didn’t seem to be interested in trying to help Hanie get better for the game. Cutler seemed more interested in sulking and keeping to himself. That’s where the tweeters got it wrong – Cutler was most definitely worthy of criticism, just not the criticisms that they gave him.

HT

mike

January 24th, 2011
11:38 am

In situations like this I like to kinda give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he didn’t want to hurt the team in such an important game by stubbornly out of selfish ambitions play with a bum leg. Cliff Lee to me is more the punk with no heart. Turning down his manager to pitch on two days rest in the playoffs? I wouldn’t take him on the Braves if he were to beg to sign with us.

fatz

January 24th, 2011
11:39 am

what would Unitas, Starr, Montana, Joe Willy, Aikman, Elway have done…?

we have an expression for an event like this: “leaving it all on the field”. its not a regular season game. its “do or die”. if you can stand – get a brace put on it and tape and get out there. if you wont do it, then at least have the sense to be on crutches with a giant ice bag on you knee- the imagery of him sullenly standing there was crushing. if you are making $30MM over 3 years you better be carried off the field on your sword. you cannot walk away or let some chickensh*t trainer tell you to sit out. your whole credibility as a leader is in question.

i admit the more i’ve read about cutler the more i feel sorry for him. but he gets treated this way because he’s seen as an aloof prima donna to begin with. maybe josh mcdaniel- who bet his job on this (and lost)- was right to move away from cutler.

he had a chance here to pull an emmitt smith (who ran over the giants with a dislocated shoulder- even if he hyped it a bit- hey- its showbiz!) and win the chicago crowd over. he should have had 10 feet of tape on his knee and hobbled out there. he may never see an NFC championship game again. that is what you are supposed to be battling for your whole career- that chance.

ATL Fan

January 24th, 2011
11:40 am

You got to dance with them what brung you…Whether he was too physically or mentally damaged to continue to play, it’s Jay Cutler who was the QB that led the Bears. Either way, it’s a team and teammates stick together. If someone isn’t doing their part, work it out behind closed doors. It’s too late to revamp the QB situation in the middle of the NFC Championship game.

Bears fans stand behind Cutler, support him, and if it turns out he quit, hopefully the management will thank him for his service and replace him. Learn from that mistake and get a QB that won’t quit. If it turns out he was too physically injured to play, then you have had his back and supported him through the hard times.

Joycee Banicheck

January 24th, 2011
11:41 am

Remember when McNabb played an epic game with a broken ankle? That’s what I’m talking about…

Chris

January 24th, 2011
11:41 am

Black players and particularly black analyst would never criticize a black QB or another black player like this.