Vol fans' passionate tweets prompt some national criticism

12:39 AM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
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Some Vol fans took to twitter to slam Tee Martin Tuesday

Vol fans learned Tuesday former championship quarterback Tee Martin would not be returning to Rocky Top to coach under Butch Jones. As with any unwelcome news in recent weeks, the fan-base took their rants to social media sites, like Twitter.

"I think social media is really coming into its own very clearly through this coaching search," said Shane Rhyne, of Ackermann PR. "And, its role in giving them an extra venue to express that passion, for better or for worse."

Reaction from Tee Martin's announcement often aligned with the latter, with fans calling the former Vol a "traitor," among other terms.

"Tennessee fans... eat their own with this kind of attitude," Rhyne said.

Now, Big Orange Country is drawing some national criticism. As the fan base rides an emotional roller coaster, national sports journalists have started biting back.

"These crazy swings of emotion over every little hire," recalls Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, "I don't think it's good for the mental health to be out there on the ledge every time an assistant coach says, 'Yes, I'm coming,' or, 'No, I'm not.'"

He, along with several other nationally published media members, poked fun at a few Vol fans on Twitter over the weekend.

"I tried, at least, to tell Tennessee fans -- 'you know Butch Jones was a guy that was well-sought after by a number of programs,'" he said, following a negative reaction from some fans after the coaching hire was announced.

"I think there needed to be a dose of reality injected into the situation."

However, some Vol fans are having fun with a little make-believe. Lifelong UT supporter Travis Cabage created a new Twitter handle called "@OverreactingVol" where he mocks the very fan-base to which he belongs.

"Just kind of poking fun at what Vol fans say, and... some of the more stupid stuff they say and just kind of playing onto that," he explains. Already, the account has more than 1,500 followers.

"It's just taken on a character, a life of its own," he said.

Rhyne is amused by many of the emotional tweets, but reminds the people behind them they are posted to a public forum.

"I think you need to be cognicent of that when you're tweeting," he said. "Before you hit send, are you okay with whoever is going to see this, read this message?"

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