Yesterday was fairly quiet for most of the afternoon, and then, Cam Newton blew up twitter. A few "rumors" turned into wild allegations against arguably the best player in college football this year.
And, as has happened countless times over the past few years, the internet ran wild. With little concrete information, message boards exploded, everyone (myself included) laid out their ill-informed opinions, reporters jockeyed for that big scoop, and national columnists tried to be the first to act like this incident (if we can even call it that at this point) is something that will carry importance for more than just this season. Pete Thamel of the New York Times wrote that college football fans should be 'disillusioned' by the Newton investigation. Stewart Mandel wrote that these allegations could be a blow to college football.
Wait? What? I'm supposed to change my thinking on college football simply because of allegations against a single player? Give me a break guys, and let's just take a dash of perspective before acting like this event has some grand meaning.
These overreactions shouldn't be a surprise. Every time there is a big story, the train to condemn or sound important gets rolling. When Oregon faced its offseason troubles, writers got in line to condemn Chip Kelly and acted like they had some special insight into the situation at Oregon.
As the internet has taken off, how we consume information has changed. In my case, I rarely watch sporting coverage on TV since finding Addicted To Quack and the entire SBNation network. We can pick and choose the media that we read and watch. We are lucky to be sports fans in this time, with so many resources at our fingertips.
But this has also created a culture of immediacy that has some downfalls. If you get your name out there first, your article gets to the top of Google news, and you bring in those page views that are the lifeblood of internet publishing. But this doesn't always mean that you're producing the best (or most accurate) content.
The internet has given us more of everything: more writing, more videos, more opinions. You cannot lack for content while online. We are inundated with information. This gives us as fans the power to control what we consume, but also gives us a responsibility to discern accurate and fair reporting from rumor-mongering and hearsay.
This is the second of three posts sponsored by Samsung, discussing the intersection of sports and technology.