One of the negative aspects of freedom of speech on social media is people can say whatever they want to say and get away with it. Celebrities and superstar athletes have become the main targets of these messages full of vitriol. As humans, they tend to clap back, but there’s the risk of cancel culture. Podcaster and former NBA player Gilbert Arenas has a way of treating Twitter trolls, and other NBA stars should learn from him.
“I don’t give a sh**t about your opinion”
Gilbert Arenas shared how he treats the haters, bashers, and critics. He answers them but doesn’t wallow in it. On The No Chill with Gilbert Arenas Podcast on Fubo Sports Network, Agent Zero talked about the issue with Ryan Hollins and Josiah Johnson.
“I’ve never blocked anybody. What’s funny is that I’ll post, and I’ll just punch everybody and then I log off and just let everybody else fight. I don’t sit there and go back and forth. I really don’t give a s**t about your opinion.”
Gilbert Arenas, No Chill with Gilbert Arenas
Arenas set a limit for his own good. He knows that the more he interacts with fans, the higher chances of saying something he might regret later on are. Gil doesn’t get too high and doesn’t get too low. And he really doesn’t give a shit about other people’s opinions, and that’s something players today should take note of.
How other players can learn from Arenas
Today, we live in a damn if you do, damn if you don’t world. If NBA players keep their mouths shut, they’re guilty, and if they address the issues, trolls have a field day attacking them. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are two of the most trolled NBA players today, and they are attracting these online attacks because of how they respond to them.
KD had been criticized for using burner accounts to clap back to fans. Accountability is largely missing in this system. A player gets bashed for not doing something he’s supposed to do. If he promises to play better or help the team win a title but fails, the fans will go after him for not fulfilling his promises or doing his part.
If KD or Kyrie posted or said something in interviews, they should back it up. Humility is also missing from the equation, owning the mistakes and vowing to get better, asking for apologies for failing and taking steps towards improvement. Ben Simmons claims he wants to play or improve but changes his mind last minute or doesn’t practice shooting. Naturally, fans hold him liable for things he didn’t do. It’s about backing it up. Fans can forgive players for failing but not for not trying. That’s a big difference.
Having a composed mind and the ability to distinguish opinions that have weight over opinions that won’t do anything good is also important. For example, if a player reaches that level of thinking that he’s unbothered over other people’s opinions, he won’t be easily triggered by trolls.
NBA players should realize they are attacked as basketball players and not as human beings. If they can’t control what they have to say on social media, it’s better to have managers handle it. Or take the Gilbert Arenas school of “don’t give a s**t,” and everything else will follow.