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"Hate to see my boy B Marshall go," @reggie_bush tweeted. "That's the league for you, one day your hear next day your gone. Chicago is getting one hell of a player!"
This was tweeted at 3:21 PM yesterday. Four minutes later, @reggie_bush tweeted a partial correction: "Here*"
I hope I don't sound jealous of @reggie_bush, because I'm not in the least. Even though as of 9 this morning, his Twitter following of 2,349,411 was eclipsing mine by 2,349,000. And I'm rounding my following up generously.
The ESPN story included dramatic tweets from other NFL players. "Tell me this ain't true," Dolphin center Mike Pouncey tweeted. The Bears' Lance Briggs tweeted that for the Bears it was "a great day."
It's a new day in pro sports more generally. Athletes used to be less accessible, more private. The saying regarding locker rooms used to be, "What you see hear, what you here hear, when you leave hear, let it stay hear." ( Here*, hear*.) Now pro athletes seem to be working on building their fan base through Twitter. A big fan following could be a helpful card when it's time to negotiate a new contract, or a way to cash in on endorsements. Or maybe it's simply ego. I'm just glad the late Walter Payton predated this era; I prefer to remember him as Sweetness, not Tweetness.
The ESPN story was far more than a collection of tweets. ESPN also revealed the contents of a startling text message from Marshall's agent, Kennard McGuire, to the AP. McGuire said that because the Bears have quarterback Jay Cutler and new QB coach Jeremy Bates, the Bears' acquisition of his client was "great."
I'm definitely going to follow @reggie_bush now because, having surveyed his recent tweets, I know what I've been missing:
March 9: My bro @Neima_PD clothing line @pinkdolphinco Spring Collection just dropped! PinkDolphinOnline.com crazy swag! Go get that.
March 12: On my way to get this good workout in. No grind no shine!
March 12: I'm bout to SMACK this dude @Neima_PD on FIFA 12! Let's go Messi!!!!!!!!!!
You know that @reggie_bush's tweet about Messi was important because of his 1,000-percent upgrade in exclamation marks from "No grind no shine!" FIFA 12 is a soccer video game, and "Messi" is Lionel Messi, the star Argentinian forward. @LeoMessi1987 has a mere 552,918 followers, but that's probably because he hasn't been very active on Twitter—he last tweeted on December 20, when he informed his fans, "I just got up to 5.916 in #DoodleJump!!! Beat that!"
Oh, the strenuous life of an athlete.
Now it's mid-afternoon, and @reggie_bush's following has grown to 2,349,970. He's added triple the followers today that I've accumulated in my entire Twitter life. Maybe I need to use more exclamation marks. They grate on me, but no grind no shine!!!!!