Pitino, Calipari on different sides

Updated: February 20, 2014, 12:25 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Rick Pitino doesn't mince words when it comes to social media and sports.

He doesn't like it and believes his Louisville team is better when players stay away from it.

"Every hour, it's like taking a little bit of poison," Pitino said during an appearance Wednesday on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike." "It poisons their minds.

"I think technology is a great thing in many instances, and I think it's poison in others, and for people in sports especially."

Pitino has banned his players from tweeting, and if it were up to him, he wouldn't let them use any other social media forum either.

Kentucky coach John Calipari, however, disagrees with that view entirely.

"This is no disrespect," Calipari said on "Mike and Mike" during an appearance Thursday. "The coaches you mentioned [Pitino, Tom Izzo], they know nothing about social media. Nothing. They don't do it. They feel it's another job. ...

"I'm not going to hold my team back from Twitter or Facebook, but I'm going to teach them. I'm going to use it as a positive. And I don't read one response on Twitter or Facebook. ... There are a lot of bullies and haters on Twitter, but I don't read them ... I don't see them. I gave out information. I'm transparent to our fans."

Pitino said his players concede they use social media at least four hours a day.

"I'm trying to get our players to read more, pay attention to important things," the Hall of Fame coach said.

Pitino believes using social media impedes a player's ability to communicate.

"We as parents and teachers, we want our children, we want our players to communicate, to articulate a message, to get in front of a human resources person and articulate their passion for wanting a job," he said. "We're losing our abilities to communicate, especially young people today."

Calipari, meanwhile, said he's trying to help teach his players to communicate, even through social media, by bringing in professionals to talk to them about the do's and don'ts.

"We watch what they put out," Calipari said. "If they put out something dumb, we talk to them and tell them, 'Why? Why would you do that?' We tell the players that if you're into reading the responses, don't go on Twitter.

"Twitter is an opportunity -- Facebook is an opportunity -- to say what you feel, to try to pick people up, to try to be positive, to try to add something to society, to try to let people see you transparently. You cannot be defined, if you are on social media, by somebody else. You will define yourself. And if it's negative, that's your fault."

Pitino's comments came two days after he blasted social media at the end of a Monday news conference, saying, "I think anyone who reads social media that's in sports is not all there."

Some Louisville players, including Chris Jones and Russ Smith, use the photo-sharing service Instagram.

"I don't know why people do it," Pitino said Monday. "It's not that I'm against certain facets of social media, because I'm not, but what you're talking about -- what Russ is doing -- is a total waste of time."

Calipari tries to send a different message to his players.

"What we are trying to tell those kids [is], Hey, you build your brand or you break your brand down," he said. "For anyone to say [about social media], 'Don't do it ... it's crazy.' I don't know what you're talking about."

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