Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury banned the team's use of Twitter last season after Ravern Johnson complained about his role on the team. That earned the Bulldogs' leading scorer a two-game suspension. In a statement, Stansbury explained that "some young men just don’t understand once they put something out there for everyone to see, there is no taking it back."
Now Twitter has cost freshman D.J. Gardner, an ESPNU Top 100 recruit, his Mississippi State career. Stansbury dismissed the 6-foot-7 guard the day after he announced Gardner would be redshirted. Gardner responded by tweeting profanity-laced remarks.
But while Gardner's tweets might have crossed the line, they also showed his deep frustrations with the Mississippi State program before he even played a single game.
His mother told The Clarion-Ledger that it was Gardner's idea to redshirt the season, but that he didn't believe it was decided upon until Stansbury announced it to the media Thursday.
"I was told no decision would be made until November about D.J. being redshirted," Angela Gardner told The Clarion-Ledger. "Imagine my surprise when I saw it come across Channel 9 news."
Angela Gardner said her son was lied to during the recruiting process earlier this year, when he was told by coaches he would see significant playing time this season. Upon learning he would be part of a three-man rotation at shooting guard, D.J. Gardner approached the coaching staff and asked for a redshirt year, she said.
"It's like they sold him a dream," she said.
So while Gardner might have made a poor decision in using a public forum to air his grievances, it appears Mississippi State might need to improve the way it communicates as well.
Johnson's critical tweet last February appeared to question why his coaches couldn't put him in a better position to show off his talents on offense. Then teammate Renardo Sidney retweeted it, causing many to wonder about the respect level the two players had for Stansbury.
On Thursday, Stansbury's interview featured a couple of cases of miscommunication. The coach insisted to reporters that it was his decision to have Sidney work out in Houston rather than it be the player deciding not to accompany the team to Europe. Sidney had received criticism for what appeared to be his own decision, and that storyline was allowed to go on for weeks before Stansbury corrected reporters and then was vague about why he decided Sidney shouldn't travel with the team.
Now the Gardner issue appears to be getting messy as well because the player didn't think a decision had yet been made on redshirting at the moment Stansbury announced it.
So while Mississippi State players are using Twitter to get their points across harshly, there remains the question as to why they are unhappy in the first place.
An over-the-top tweet, after all, isn't the only questionable mode of communication that has led to problems at Mississippi State.