Public Opinion on Manny Ramirez...via Twitter

| by Dr Gwenn

"Manny being Manny"? Not this time. This time, Manny has crossed a very serious line.

I actually learned about the the Manny mess via Twitter...which seems to be the
place to get breaking news for me lately. I keep Tweetdeck up and
running on my computer...often on a second screen...and now and again
look up to see what's going on. Four days ago when the story broke, I
saw two back to back tweets from @MeredithOBrien:

I have to admit, given Manny's past stunts while a Red Sox player, I
wasn't shocked, although disappointed. Doping up is now way for a MLB
player paid any amount to behave. I'm not sure the 50 games does
justice to the incident. In my opinion, this is such a serious offense,
it should be an automatic season suspension.

The court of public
opinion has not been favorable towards Manny. Part of the issue is
Manny's past behavior has worn on everyone. But, the other issue is the
drug use to get ahead in the game. People have a zero tolerance for
that, as I discovered by doing a search for "Manny" on Twitter.
Twitter is a great source of not only tracking topics, called "trending
topics" in Twiterease, but for gauging the public's reaction to a
situation. In the case of Manny being caught red handed doing banned
drugs, he was uniformly tossed under the bus. People do not want to see
him in the on deck circle any time soon.

Manny is not helping
his cause by trying to rationalize away the issue, or deflecting the
blame back on others, like the physician who wrote the prescriptions
for the drugs he took. Manny claims he's taking a "real" medication for
a "real" medical problem". According to the LA Times,
there is a hotline players can call to check if a drug is allowed by
MLB and then apply for an exemption. Not only did Manny never applied
for that exemption, he refused to see a MLB physician and went to a
private physician instead. And, keep in mind, this is actually Manny's second positive test
for the same substance, HCG, having tested positive during Spring
Training. Not exactly up front behavior all around for a guy supposedly
taking medications for a legitimate issue. I have no doubt there are
many MLB players with sensitive medical issues and HIPPA alone would
require those MLB docs to keep matters they treat players for
confidential. Manny had nothing to lose had he seen a MLB
doc...assuming the issue was a real one.

Manny should take a big
step back and realize he's likely irrevocably trashed his public
opinion for good this time. The Twitter Barometer of public opinion
seems fairly accurate in assessing people's sentiments in a moment of
time and no one is buying the explanation he is trying to sell. I have
a feeling he'll find the days of warm receptions in ball parks are
coming to an end, if not over all together. If he knows what's good for
him, he'll return determined to put the "Manny being Manny" description
well in the past.

With so many people wondering how applications
like Twitter will play a role in the future, using trending topics and
search to keep tabs on public opinion and also to be able to archive
Twitter conversations could be very powerful and become invaluable as
we grapple with figuring out what events in our lives mean. Twitter
helped us recognize we were not focusing on the right issues with
Influenza H1N1 recently...and Twitter gives a clear sign that the
public has had it with the diva-like behavior of professional sports
players. I predict this is only the tip of the iceberg for how we'll
figure out how Twitter can be used in our lives as we move forward in
this social media world of ours.