National Association of Black Journalists

The University of Oklahoma Chapter

Category: NABJ Board of Directors

Social Media & Student Athletes

Social Media’s  Involvement

Social media is the creative phenomenon that has taken the world by storm. It allows people to connect, share, and create in the same space. But like all things there is a degree of discretion one must have especially when it comes to media because everyone has the ability to see what they post.

For student athletes, social media can either be their gateway or there blockade. In the 21st century social media has found its way to help shape a person’s identity, yet it does not necessarily define them. For the young high school athletes with 7 classes, after school practice and competitions to compete in, they might not realize the importance the media has on their life regarding continuing not just education, but athletics in college as well. The media has found a way to help each individual student athlete feel different and set apart from the rest.

Things such as a certain athletes stats, personal records, recorded tackles and times benefit when using the media and social media especially. Recruiting profiles are the biggest and number one way that college coaches search for prospective athletes for the future. The standard height and weight is normal, but it is the creativity in each athlete’s page that makes it so unique.

Examples of Websites and Star Athletes

However, it is the highlights that stand out the most. Websites such as NCSA (National Collegiate Student Athletes) actually break down each individual play and run specifying the athlete so coaches know who to look for, technique and execution. A big example of high school athletic recruiting is recently Texas A&M Committed linebacker Anthony Hines III.

Now a senior at Plano East Senior High School, before committing Anthony had more than 90 plus full-ride football scholarships to universities and colleges around the united states. This is not just because he plays football in Texas, where high school football is taken seriously; but because of the amount of importance and depth that was put into the recruiting process via social media.

All of the major football games were filmed and uploaded to multiple recruiting sites, emails and letters were sent to college coaches garnering attention for Hines. But this isn’t the true straw that broke the camel’s back rather, it is social media that really showcased his talent. Every football camp and combine he competed in gained attention via everything from quick clips on twitter, to post game interviews on facebook and instagram showcasing his personality as well his skill. In his junior year of highschool, ESPN ranked him the #1 Linebacker recruit for the class of 2017, after that expansion of popularity and outlook, all the offers started to come in.

The Connection between Social Media and Student Athletes

Social media in general has helped the lives and abilities of student athletes not just in highschool, but in college as well. The social media accounts of any major athlete at college not only has a lot of followers; but some of them have the certified check mark just to verify it is them. Being an athlete and successful floods a lot of responsibility that social media gives the student athlete to choose wisely. The more wise and responsible the athlete is in their decisions of what to post and comment on shows the type of maturity it takes to represent not just themselves, but the organization that compete apart of as well.      

This sets apart the good athletes from the great ones. For the sport I compete in which is track and field. The establishment of the website has transended that amount of coverage, statistics and performance of highschool athletes all over the country. From the weekly updates of what’s new in the world of track, to the little switches in rankings of fastests times even detailed to your specific grade. This type of media coverage and outlook helps college coaches pick the right competitors not just based on performance, but overall skill level too. The inclusion on online interviews, webcasts, skype calls and video-recaps gives student athletes that outreach they need to stand out in the recruiting process.

The Negative Effects of Social Media

Students looking for jobs are advised to monitor their social media but what about prospective high school athletes? Just like an employer is looking for an employee, recruiters are looking for well rounded athletes. Just because an athlete’s profile is on private does not mean what they post is private. The loss of scholarships and titles have often been the result of inappropriate posts by athletes in high school damaging their chances of recruitment by colleges. During my research on this topic an athlete kept coming up, his name is Yuri Wright.

Wright was a football player for Don Bosco Prep high school, a star athlete in his own right and top prospect by many universities. In 2012 he was ranked top 40 player nationally by ESPN and was named in the top 10 of multiple recruiting services. He was talented athlete that neglected to monitor what he posted on Twitter. The vulgar and explicit tweet’s led to his expulsion in the spring semester of his senior year and Michigan was no longer recruiting him. However, Wright still prevailed and signed to the University of Colorado Boulder.

In Conclusion

Overall, this type of connectivity that social media and the media has with student athletes is amazing and very innovative in separating each and every athlete from the rest. It certainly has just as much reward as it does consequence with it comes to it’s use, functions and above all else, it’s effect.

White Out


12 Years A Slave promotional book cover

Some movies just pop out of the movie screen, and absolutely capture your mind. No matter the race, background, age, or even heritage, there is that one movie that’ll pull you in just based off of how amazing it is. 2013’s 12 Years a Slave is that movie. The performances, cinematography and overall message the film displayed was more than worthy of an academy award nomination. From Lupita Nyongo’s intense beatings on screen to the horrific realization of just how hard it was to be a slave in that time. “12 Years a Slave” now just captured the Best Picture award at the 86th annual Academy Awards, but captured the attention of a lot of people who were revolutionizing the Black Lives Matter movement.


Main cast of the 2014 movie Selma

Yet, this was only the beginning, the very next year, the Martin Luther King heavy pic “Selma” came to the academies attention. An all African american cast making another big picture nomination gave African Americans a sense of balance in the polling, and consideration from the Hollywood Foreign Press.  Both of these films found a way to change the landscape of what it meant to be equal with not just entertainment films, but beautiful bio-pics and cinematographic masterpieces. Both films won a majority of the awards they were nominated for. This includes the award for ‘Best Original Score’ given to artists John Legend & Common for the movies score entitled “Glory”.  In society today, seeing equality in such a high praise of film is absolutely amazing. Knowing that our favorite films with our DiCaprio’s, Depp’s, De Niro’s and McConaughey’s get nominated are one thing; but something about seeing other races films up there too make the world seem balanced.


“Oscars So White example picture.”

That was until the 88th Academy Award nominations list was released. On January 16th, 2016, the world was pleased to see the complete list of the nominees. Intrigue, early predictions of winners and of course the question everyone wanted to know “Is this the year Leo finally wins?” However, the first thing everybody noticed, was that the nominee pool was heavy on one particular race. In this case, it being Caucasian. Not a single actor of really African american decent or other was in the running for any award actually. This has happened before, but in much earlier years. This year was different. The reason why is because of movies such as “Straight Outta Compton” which was only nominated for it’s white writers. Will Smith’s “Concussion” seemed to be a shoe-in, but received absolutely nothing. This provoked Will’s wife Jada to actually boycott the Oscars intentionally, bringing up the situations of people of color no longing having to “beg” for the attention of the media art they produce.

You can see her video here:

After this, and Straight Outta Compton’s one nomination brought to attention, the #OscarsSoWhite began to trend on twitter from the later part of January leading into the show itself. The only thing that made it pause, was the announcement of it’s host, none other than African American comedian Chris Rock. The biggest swerve of 2016 came in this way. When the entire list of nominees for the awards itself was white, the host was black, what? This was so weird, and almost came off as a cheap way to give black people a sense of value in this award show. It almost became a conversation of “Oh here, blacks don’t get any nominees, but at least you have the host.” When in reality, this was the absolute right move as Chris Rock was able to be given power to address the Oscars’s all white nomination panel and more. Hollywood at this point was not in good light, and Chris Rock had an entire 3 and a half hour show to entertain the audience using real life controversy. This actually created a sense of understanding for how out of control something like a list of people can be. Chris made the entire fiasco seem like a simple mistake on Hollywood’s’ radar, knowing that not everything is perfect, and that black people will have their voices heard no matter what.

Here is the opening monologue of the 88th Annual Academy Awards:

Unfortunately, all the controversy would expect the 88th annual Academy Awards to spike viewership, when actually, it became the 3rd lowest in Oscars history and went down 2% from the prior year. This evidently means that those who were boycotting the viewership of such a white heavy telecast actually got what they wanted. Yet, that’s not really the point of it all. If the Hollywood Foreign Press only puts colored actors in for ratings, then that’s even worse than none at all, it’s just using diversity as a media plug. Actually, the Hollywood Foreign Press should evaluate just how equal a ballot must be to understand the importance of diversity in today’s society. The H.F.P itself should be the most diverse of anyone, so multiple people can both agree and disagree on films based on not just there backgrounds, but the beauty the art of cinematography possess itself.

All in all, films like “12 Years A Slave”, “Selma” and even 2011’s “The Help”, elevated the importance of diversity in film art and made it to where you cannot simply have an all white Academy Awards nomination panel and get away with it so easily. If it wasn’t for these films both winning and receiving so many nominations and so much praise, diverse films may never have the voice they have today.

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