Above is a screen shot of a Twitter exchange between potential BYU football recruit Nick Kurtz and NFL star Wes Welker, whose Texas Tech Red Raiders are also in the recruiting mix for Kurtz.
Welker, in a separate tweet after the exchange, linked a 2 1/2 year old article from Salt Lake City’s Deseret News. (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700069771/Collie-is-BYUs-first-wide-receiver-to-make-a-big-impact-in-the-NFL.html?pg=all).
Kurtz is a 6’6 wide receiver out of Grossmont College in California. In watching the highlights (http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1753766/highlights/31123426), Kurtz is reminiscent of current Cougar Cody Hoffman. Along with his incredible size, he possesses sneaky speed with his long strides. Kurtz gained all-conference honors with 49 rec, 697 yds and 10 TDs in his freshmen season. Now, he looks to find a suitable FBS school to sign with for 2014. Such a recruit would be extremely welcome at BYU, as the record-setting Hoffman will graduate at the conclusion of this season. Right now, he’s on a visit to BYU. He has a scheduled visit to Welker’s alma mater, Texas Tech. And he is also considering Cal.
As can be expected, I’ve happened upon a bevy of angry tweets from BYU fans in Welker’s direction. From pictures of a shabby looking field in Lubbock to mentions of locking players in tool sheds, there has been no shortage of wrath hurled at the Broncos star.
We, as sports fans, get passionate. We do. And the thought of an NFL star standing in the way of a possible star wide receiver joining the BYU roster definitely riled many fans to warm up their keyboards and touchscreens tonight. It’s always important to keep a level head and avoid tweeting or posting comments that poorly represent an organization and/or fan base. Unfortunately, fans don’t always adhere to that axiom.
A different question that stands out in my mind, however, is the necessity of the Twitter exchange between Welker and Kurtz. A young man, presumably 19 or 20 years old, stated that he’s having the time of his life on a college visit. Is Welker then overstepping his bounds as a representative of Texas Tech as he participates in that exchange?
I get that recruiting is brutal. It’s treacherous. It’s sometimes unethical. It would be naive for me to say that Welker shouldn’t be allowed to post what he wants; however, Welker did not just leave the exchange at his initial joke. Chances are he didn’t have that “point-proving” Deseret News article committed to memory. A kid just expressed his incredible enjoyment of life, only to get poo-pooed by an NFL star, who, by his professional status, happens to be an opinion leader in the public forum. All credit to Kurtz for responding with a positive attitude.
Is it wrong what Welker did? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I’m just blowing this out of proportion. Maybe all of Welker’s tweets were meant to be sarcastic and light-hearted (two emotions that do not translate in the written word, as I’ve learned from experience with a certain ex-girlfriend). Then again, that’s what bloggers and media types do anyway, right? Blow things out of proportion?
I guess sometimes it’s just hard for anybody, including rabid fans and professional athletes with vested interest in their alma mater, to take a step back and realize what they’re doing.