Miss. State Player Now Suspended For Tweets

Early Thursday I noted a critical Tweet sent out by Mississippi State guard Ravern Johnson after a 75-61 loss to Alabama on Wednesday.

Ravern Johnson rips Rick Stansbury on Twitter, Renardo Sidney agrees

Johnson wrote on his Twitter account, which has since been deleted:

“Starting to see why people Transfer. You can play the minutes but not getting your talents shown because u watching someone else wit the ball the whole game”

Johnson teammate Renardo Sidney then re-Tweeted his Twitter entry moments later in what could only be construed as an endorsement of Johnson’s Tweet.

Today Mississippi State officially announced Johnson has been suspended for the team’s game Saturday against LSU.

Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury previously announced yesterday that all MSU players were now banned from having a Twitter account.

Today Brandon Marcello of the JACKSON (MS) CLARION-LEDGER provided more background on Johnson and Sidney, including additional Tweets from their accounts Wednesday night that were directed at Bulldog fans:

Johnson’s tweet was copied and forwarded by sophomore forward Renardo Sidney, a controversial star who was caught by ESPN cameras in a fistfight in the stands of a tournament in Hawaii with then-teammate Elgin Bailey on Dec. 23.Sidney was not suspended for re-tweeting Johnson’s message. The two deleted their accounts from Twitter late Wednesday night, but not before sharing the following tweets to fans:

Johnson: Funny to see what all our so called #Fan Really think good to know

Sidney: It’s a Shame how our fans turn they back on us when we need them the most…. #sad

Johnson averages 17.7 points and 3.7 rebounds a game, but has struggled in SEC games. He’s averaging a career-high 36.5 minutes a game but is connecting on a career-low 40.4 percent of his shots.

Johnson’s shooting percentage (40.4 percent) has dropped 7.8 percent since Dec. 18, a stretch that has included a 3-point field goal percentage of 22.2 percent.

This is Johnson’s second suspension of the season. He missed one game in the fall for missing classes.

As I wrote Thursday, Coach Stansbury has unknowingly backed himself into a corner with his actions regarding Twitter. Instead of worrying about postings on a website, Stansbury needs to immediately address the internal strife that led to the Tweets and all the other off-court issues obviously facing the team.

Twitter is not going away. Banning players from using the site will put Stansbury at a competitive and more specifically, recruiting disadvantage.

If he thinks he can fight what become an irresistible online cultural force, he won’t be long for Starkvegas.

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