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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Men’s basketball deals with social media pressure

Senior guard Chris Clover drives in the paint against Davidson University on Jan. 15. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

The St. Joe’s men’s basketball program gets more national media attention than any other varsity sport on Hawk Hill. With all of the added coverage, the team also faces a high level of scrutiny, specifically online.

During the Hawks’ recent four game losing streak, there was a new barrage of negative comments on social media, according to sophomore forward Taylor Funk.

“During this stretch where it was hard to win a game, there was a lot of criticism,” Funk said. “There was stuff on Twitter every day after every game. That is the stuff I try not to read because that is the stuff that gets to you.”

Senior guard Chris Clover said that the coaching staff urges the team not to read or listen to the critics on social media.

“Coach [Martelli] always says to block out the outside noise,” Clover said. “You have to because if you watch it or you listen to it, it might get in your head. I don’t want to feed into the negative energy.”

In this day and age though, social media is inescapable. Redshirt senior forward Markelle Lodge estimates he is on social media around 10 hours a day. During the losing streak, he couldn’t stop himself from searching for people criticizing the team online.

“When we were on the losing streak, I did that a lot,” Lodge said. “It was a lot of negativity. I think we ended up using it as motivation though.”

Funk tries to avoid using social media after losses in order to escape the negativity. When he isn’t able to evade the fans’ critiques on social media, Funk said he tries to emulate Lodge by using the comments as fuel instead of letting it rupture his mindset.

“It is definitely there,” Funk said. “I wouldn’t say it affects the way I play. I want to prove them wrong so I try to use it as motivation.”

What frustrates Funk is how fans often make claims without truly knowing the situation.

“Everyone is a fan, everyone wants to be a coach, everyone thinks they know everything,” Funk said. “They don’t see all of the hours we put in. Our goal obviously is never to lose. It kills us. When we lose you can just see it on the team.”

Lodge said he feels that fans often look for somebody to single out and blame. He’d rather fans criticize them as a group.

“I saw a tweet talking about firing Phil [Martelli],” Lodge said. “At the end of the day, it isn’t coach Martelli’s fault, he isn’t out there playing. Criticize all of us because we take that together as a team. It isn’t just one person out there losing.”

Clover acknowledged that the fans have a right to voice their opinions but often forget that the players are people too.

“People always have something to say on social media,” Clover said. “Freedom of speech, I guess. From their perspective, they just see us as basketball players and not men, young men who are intelligent. It is annoying but you just have to deal with it.”

There are times where Funk sometimes wants to respond to the people criticizing him online but he always stops himself.

“I definitely want to but I would never do that,” Funk said. “There is just no point. That is just what they would want, is for you to comeback at them. It is the better way to go to ignore it. No need to start a Twitter fight.”

Lodge said he figures if the critics aren’t with them on the court their opinion doesn’t matter.

“At the end of the day as I see it if you aren’t out here playing with us don’t be talking behind our backs,” Lodge said. “I’m just going to continue to, as the young people say, block out the haters.”

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