HOOVER, Ala. — The usage of personal social media accounts cost former Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil millions of dollars at this year’s NFL Draft.
Just minutes before Tunsil was expected to be selected as one of the top picks in the late-April draft, his social media accounts were hacked, revealing video of what appeared to be Tunsil smoking pot with the aid of a gas mask.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was there to witness it all unfold on draft night, and it left what seems to be a lasting impression.
On Thursday, Freeze addresses the the pitfalls of the usage of platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for college athletes.
“I don’t know any school that puts as much into trying to educate your kids about branding on social media and dangers and pitfalls of it,” Freeze said. “I’m confident we worked as hard as we can on that. Kids still make mistakes, and he did. But the evilness in this world, the fact that someone would do that at that moment to young men, is very saddening.
And I see it all the time on social media. It’s fueled with either unhappy people, or people that want to tear others down for sure. And nothing is going to be kept in their lives anymore that is private. And it is a danger that is constantly costing people.”
Freeze went on to weigh the pros and cons of having a social media account.
“I think you can use it for positive. I try to do that every day. I’m not a big fan of it. I kind of wish I wasn’t even a part of it. But I do think you can use it for good. And I think our kids, being in the platform they have as a college athlete and the SEC, they can really use it for good, and I’m hopeful that ours will.
But there is no question that on that given night is a great example for our young men. We have a gift box at our place, and in that gift box goes things we should learn from the gifts of others. And sometimes we give our own self a gift. We go through those constantly and what should we learn from it. And hopefully we’ll take that and that mistake won’t happen again.”
Freeze is one of the more active SEC football coaches on social media, with more than 144,000 Twitter followers and more than 8,000 tweets under his belt.