Thoughts on Steve Johnson's tweet

November, 29, 2010
11/29/10
7:36
PM ET
One of the greatest lessons my father taught me was never to discuss religion or politics if you wanted to enjoy a peaceful evening.

The topics are too complex, too passionate, too potentially divisive, too easily misunderstood.

And that's in private with more than 140 characters available.

Buffalo Bills receiver Steve Johnson didn't subscribe to that policy Sunday.

[+] EnlargeSteve Johnson
AP Photo/Don HeupelSteve Johnson's postgame tweet was a display of genuine emotion.
Johnson dropped the winning touchdown pass in an eventual 19-16 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Shortly after leaving Ralph Wilson Stadium, he publicly expressed his grief on Twitter, creating a stir that landed him on CNN.com's religion page and made him a topic on "The View."

Johnson was emotionally raw and confused. He seemed to blame God for letting him drop Ryan Fitzpatrick's perfectly thrown, 40-yard pass into the end zone.
"I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..."

By discharging such a sensitive message through a medium that's meant to be seen by people who don't know you well, Johnson left his words open to interpretation.

The problem with Sunday's tweet probably was his usage of the phrase "this is how you do me," which suggests something underhanded or dastardly. That likely led most to believe he was blaming God.

After a couple weeks of making the national media rounds as a breakout receiver, he became the story in a much different way. This wasn't a football issue as much as it was an intriguing social-networking case study.

I'm not going to fault Johnson for wanting to communicate with his fans and share his crisis with them. His tweet provided a fascinating snapshot into the mind of an evolving, young athlete who rose from seventh-round draft choice to NFL playmaker. He was searching for answers.

And, apparently, he was misunderstood.

Johnson was unavailable to speak with Bills reporters Monday. So Sunday's tweet went unaddressed, unexplained.

But Johnson posted seven more tweets Monday night in attempt to clarify Sunday's controversial missive.
"I learned A lot Within 24hrs. Saw Both Sides.(Ups&Dwns) I AM HAPPY & THANKFUL 4 YESTERDAY! w/out Sunday iWldnt have grew closer w/The Lord!!"

"And No I Did Not Blame God People! Seriously??!? CMon! I Simply Cried Out And Asked Why? Jus Like yal did wen sumthin went wrong n ur life!"

"So Before Yall..well I'm pretty sure you've awready judged me. I hope you guys look n the mirror. I dnt blame u 4 being mad @ my gm I WAS 2!"

Johnson also posted a note on his Facebook page:
"FB fam ... please dont take my twitter comment out of context. I know as well as anyone the gifts & opportunities God has provided me & my family. I am humbled by the lessons he has taught me these past two days & will continue to praise God, be strong in my faith, & thank him for all that he has & will continue to provide me & my family."

A big part of what has made Johnson such a compelling overachiever is the way he proudly displays his passion for the game and for life. After his costly drop, he unashamedly shared his anguish.

What he wrote, while poorly calculated and probably best kept private, was genuine.

For that, nobody should criticize him.

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