Taking a page from Michigan signee Logan Tuley-Tillman, Aloha High (Beaverton, Ore.) offensive line prospect and Brigham Young commit Brayden Kearsley set fire to a Utah football card and posted it to the social media stratosphere via Instagram.
Below is a screen grab, taken for posterity:
Tuley-Tillman created a firestorm, receiving death threat from Twitter tough guys. Kearsley takes a more aggressive approach in his interactions with social media commentators. Friends of SaturdayBlitz.com Vanquish The Foe foresee BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall responding differently than Brady Hoke.
— Vanquish The Foe (@VanquishTheFoe) June 12, 2012
Kearsley’s colorful word choice throws gasoline on the fire. BYU and Utah have only one more season of the Holy War guaranteed, but rest assured that the rivalry’s spirit will perpetuate beyond 2012. That said, the religious foundation on which BYU is established is not conducive to such incendiary displays (last fire pun, I promise).
Discussion of how athletic departments should handle athletes’ use of student media has been a hot button off-season topic. Last month, Deadspin reported on an organization that sprung up to address just that matter. Some of the guidelines it set on monitoring were laughably off-base, coming across like Principal Skinner struggling to understand modern youth’s interest.
That said, proper governance on social media would behoove coaches. Mendenhall and staff have a valuable opportunity to teach Kearsley before he ever arrives on campus, perhaps better preparing him for life at BYU. Scout.com rates Kearsley a four star prospect, indicating he has the on-field skill set to perform for the Cougars. But a big part of succeeding there is fulfilling the obligations of the Honor Code. What flies at Michigan does not necessarily work at BYU.
Social media has allowed athletes to intensify their rivalries. Just today, Saturday Down South reported on a brewing Twitter war between LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu and AJ McCarron. Barring athletic departments completely banning players from using these outlets, such interactions will exist. Picking battles is wise though, a lesson Kearsley is likely to learn — that, and hopefully proper inflection of “your/you’re.”