Twitter Turns Athletes Into Media

Twitter Turns Athletes Into Media

Several days ago, a remarkable thing happened. Athletes from across the sports landscape began speaking out about certain issues that moved them. Reporters relayed information that had nothing to do with plays on the field. Fans responded, argued and shared. It was powerful, emotional, often difficult, but definitely unique. It all happened in the aftermath of the unbearably tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. And it took place on Twitter.

One of the first athletes to tweet about the Sandy Hook tragedy was Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall. He wrote, "It hurts to hear about todays shootings. With what's been going on is it now ok to talk about Mental Health?"

Hundreds of followers retweeted him. Marshall, by virtue of his fame and his own battles with mental illness, answered his own question. Yes, it is OK to talk about mental health, because Twitter gave Marshall a forum for it.

Five years ago when Twitter was born, it was known as a simple way to convey short, 140-character-or-less messages. Now, it's become an epicenter – perhaps the epicenter – of sports news, reaction and discussion.

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