By MATTHEW STEVENS
The Mississippi State men’s basketball program has banned the use of Twitter for its student-athletes for the rest of the 2010-11 season.
The ban is a result of tweets sent out between late Wednesday night and Thursday morning from senior guard Ravern Johnson and sophomore forward Renardo Sidney.
After the 75-61 loss at Alabama, Johnson sent out tweets via his account, @RayJohn2, stating his dissatisfaction with the Bulldogs coaching staff.
“Starting to see why people Transfer you can play the minutes but not getting your talents shown because u watching someone else wit the ball the whole game shooters need to move not watch why other coaches get that do not make sense to me,” Johnson tweeted early Thursday morning.
Sidney endorsed the tweet quickly after the 6-foot-10 forward sent out a tweet after the loss to the Crimson Tide that criticized the MSU fan base.
“Shame how our fans turn they back on us when need them most,” Sidney tweeted.
Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury issued the Twitter ban Thursday afternoon releasing a statement saying the decision was his and not mandated by the university.
“It’s a new world we live in with Twitter and all the things you can do on the Internet," Stansbury wrote in his statement. "After the game last night, we had a frustrated player that gets on Twitter and says things that aren't appropriate. In the heat of the moment, some young men just don't understand once they put something out there for everyone to see, there is no taking it back. That’s why I’m banning the use of Twitter at this point.”
The ban is only for the use of Twitter and does not include other social media devices such as Facebook or MySpace.
Johnson, who was previously suspended for the game against Alabama State on Dec. 14 for what university officials called a violation of the school’s class attendance policy, had just 10 points on 2-for-7 shooting while playing every minute of the game. Johnson, a 6-foot-7 senior, played every minute of action against Alabama in the two-game conference series but totaled just 18 points combined.
“It just seemed like would chip away at them but then they kept making big shots and making big runs like you’re supposed to at home,” MSU senior guard Ravern Johnson said after the game Wednesday
Sidney struggled with foul trouble early Wednesday night picking up his second foul with 18:41 left in the opening half. He sat on the bench for the rest of the first half and finish the contest with just 11 points in 19 minutes of action.
No discipline has been announced for either Johnson or Sidney and the Twitter accounts for both players have been deleted. MSU officials informed the Starkville Daily News the deletion of those accounts were the choices of the student-athletes and not mandated by the university or the men’s basketball office.
Mississippi State will next play Saturday at 3 p.m., when they travel to LSU for a contest at the Pete Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, La.