Social media is a veritable double-edged sword. The various online platforms offer celebrities a chance to connect directly with their fans, but they also provide an avenue for anonymous criticism.
With the latter effect in mind, Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman said he’d had enough of the abuse he’s faced online and deleted his account on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Days after the Razorbacks’ Week 3 loss to BYU, fans noticed that Pittman had deleted his “@CoachSamPittman” account from the social media platform. The coach was asked about the move during Monday at his weekly press conference following the Hogs’ Week 4 loss to LSU, prompting a strong statement against the personal attacks he and his players have faced from anonymous critics.
“I’ll be honest with you, I just got sick of it,” Pittman told reporters, per the Southwest Times Record’s Jackson Fuller. “The only reason I had it in the first place is for recruiting. I’m told it would do well for the university if I bring it back.”
"You can talk about my coaching all you want but attacking me, guys on the team, it's not right."— Jacob Seus (@5NEWSJacobSeus) September 25, 2023
Pittman with a very passionate answer when asked by @TomMurphyADG about deleting his twitter account. #WPS
Good view on how harmful social media today can be. pic.twitter.com/8ahlqw6NWY
“I do not believe that you can hide behind a phone and address people as personally as what people do,” Pittman continued. “I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think it’s right for the kids.”
As Pittman acknowledged, social media is a crucial tool for recruiting. Fellow coaches such as Deion Sanders, Lane Kiffin and Jim Harbaugh have enjoyed great success from the high profiles they’ve established online. But social media also gives fans an opportunity to direct insults at public figures such as coaches, athletes, politicians and celebrities. Pittman feels his mental health is more important.
The coach admitted that he’ll probably revive his account because it’s so influential for recruiting. But perhaps a compromise, such as Pittman using the Arkansas football account, @RazorbacksFB, to reach high school stars and potential transfers, will ultimately be the solution.