CFLers take trash talking to Twittersphere

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:11 PM ET

CALGARY — The CFL is all aflutter with Twitter.

Instead of keeping trash talk on the field, where only players and possibly the referees can hear it, the general public is able to eavesdrop on conversations when players use the social media site.

But when they use the Internet tool, sometimes they forget they aren’t just engaging in a conversation with their friends or, in some cases, enemies.

In Nik Lewis’s situation, the Calgary Stampeders receiver knew exactly what he was doing by calling out the B.C. Lions defensive backfield and receiver Geroy Simon last weekend.

“I was having a friendly conversation with (Lions DB) Dante Marsh and (Montreal Alouettes running back) Avon Cobourne,” Lewis said. “That’s all it was. You’re supposed to listen in. If I wanted to, I would have made it private.

“I didn’t say anything wrong. That’s like them saying I play like a bully. OK, I play like a bully. I said they hit people low. They hit people low. It would be different if they didn’t hit people low.”

Lewis told Marsh last week via Twitter to “tell Geroy he is getting old. That interview, he needs to put on some make-up to cover up some of that stress.”

Simon responded quickly on Twitter, saying, “you can tell me next week. I’m gonna last longer than you will. Theres no market for short fat receivers.”

Now that sounds like it was all in good fun, but Lions defensive back Korey Banks started a firestorm Wednesday when he told reporters Lewis was an “idiot.”

Banks, who isn’t on Twitter, said it’s all in good fun, although he didn’t sound that way a day earlier when he talked to the Vancouver media.

“It’s good to trash talk,” Banks said Thursday. “That’s what people want to hear. It’s soap-opera football. You got to make everybody amused.

“Nik Lewis, he plays with his emotion on his sleeves, what he says has some validity to it, that’s the kind of player he is.

“I can see if he was a nobody talking like that, it would kind of offend me but he has a name. He’s still playing great football. At the end of the day, he doesn’t light my fire, what lights my fire is just competing to win.”

Twitter has cost at least one CFL player some money this season.

Toronto Argonauts left tackle Rob Murphy was fined last week by the CFL for ‘Tweets’ he made while on a train to Montreal.

Murphy, who was engaging in trash talk with opponents earlier this season, posted off-colour remarks about going to Quebec.

As much as the teams try to control access to players and what they say, this online medium has bypassed their restrictions.

Many CFL teams instruct their players on not making negative statements to the media, but the athletes don’t take the same advice when it comes to Twitter.

The CFL has a policy on players using Twitter because offensive statements can damage the league’s image.

There are also a handful of coaches using the forum to address fans, but nothing posted on Wally Buono’s Twitter feed (twitter.com/coach_brillo) would be taken as trash talk. So when asked about the Banks-Lewis feud, Buono thought it was all a joke.

“I don’t want to comment on idle chatter between two Twitters, or twits, whatever you want to call them,” Buono said. “The game for me is more than that. If guys want to have fun, then so be it.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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