The Intangibles: Marquise Goodwin and Using Social Media To Improve Player/Fan Interactions

Social media websites are both a blessing and curse. They allow access to an entirely different dimension of communicating with professional sports players, celebrities, and others.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
“Why did I send that tweet?” (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Twitter in particular is an interesting platform in that it puts 140 character limits on a ‘tweet’. The simplicity of that type of format makes it attractive to people that value brevity and connectedness.

Bills fans are probably not much different than most fan bases in their desire to share their opinions with players. As long as the tone is kept upbeat, it can create positive feedback for players and fans alike.

However, all too often we’ve seen examples about what can go wrong when someone tweets in a highly emotional state, be it a player or a fan. Those measly little 140 character entries can suddenly erupt into a twit-fest extraordinaire.

We saw this happen last Saturday when WR Marquise Goodwin put out the following tweet in reaction to being booed by the crowd at The Ralph.

It quickly turned ugly when irate Bills fans responded with some arguably understandable hostility. A wave of nausea hit me as I looked at all of this unfold on my timeline. Why does social media bring out the worst in people?

Wouldn’t it be smarter to use the best of what Twitter and other social media sites can do to facilitate a healthier relationship between players and fans instead of using it to tear each other down?

It led me to do some thinking (always a dangerous thing) about how we might find a way to use Twitter and other sites to forge a better relationship with one another than what currently seems to exist at times. Effective communication between fans and players helps everyone.

BillsMafia is a unique group that came together at the right time and situation for Bills fans that also want to help those experiencing medical crises. BillsMafia was born on Twitter. Twitter is the ideal setting to move forward, forging a healthier and more supportive relationship with Bills players.

It would do well for players to gain better insight into exactly how much this fan base has suffered through the last 20 years. Fans pay the Bills, literally and figuratively. We are not the enemy when we boo, we are a fan base that has suffered like no other.

On the other hand, it would do well for fans to also understand that the young men who are Bills players today have absolutely no way to relate to our pain and suffering. Most came from programs where winning came easily. They have not experienced being labeled losers for years like Bills fans have endured.

That’s why it was so heartening to see Mike Williams and Corey Graham get signed by the Bills. I hope they both speak to the players and let them know that with all due respect it’s inappropriate to attack this fan base about booing players. The last 50 years of history in the Western New York region is rife with destruction, disrespect, and frank despair as the area lost half of its population.

Bills fans are somewhat unique, precisely because they don’t have a single bandwagon fan left on the planet. The only fans that are left are the true definition of die-hard, because no one in their right mind would passionately support a loser this long! We completely fit the definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

There’s nothing rational about this fan base because we constantly have to ask ourselves why we are forking over a lot of money for season tickets, Sunday Ticket, merchandise etc. Year after year after year after year after year we keep spending money to support the team we love, win or lose.

It’s incumbent upon both sides of the player/fan equation to maximize the relationship for the greater good. In other words, we should not treat each other with suspicion and distrust because nothing is to be gained by doing so. Wouldn’t it be far more productive to use social media to enhance the relationship, since both sides of this equation have the same exact goal; to win a championship?

Bills fans have at least a 20 year history of misery, and for some it goes all the way back to the beginning of the franchise. If that isn’t bad enough, most Western New Yorkers were raised with a boulder on their shoulder, not a chip. Buffalo is a place seen by outsiders as just another rust belt wasteland with Siberian like winters. Years of ridicule about the region from the rest of the world wears on a person.

It seems that groups like the BillsMafia are doing a great job of connecting players to the fan base. I encourage each and every one of us to step up to the plate and think before tweeting. Think about what effect you want to have as a result of what you communicate on Twitter.

Twitter can be used as a powerful tool to build bridges, or it can be used for destructive purposes. The choice belongs to the person hitting the keystrokes. It makes little sense to bite the hand of the person you are cheering for to win every Sunday, especially if he is a wide receiver.

On the other hand, players should not bite the hand that puts food on their table (pun intended). If fans are reacting in a manner that is unfamiliar or perceived negatively in some fashion, don’t make assumptions that they are “bad fans.” It’s important to remember that if for no other reason than pure economics, it’s better to be booed than to play in an empty stadium.

The price of celebrity is high, and if players want to win they need to know that fans are not the enemy, even when they boo. This fan base in particular is so starved for winning that most would happily walk across a football field of glass for a successful football team that makes it to the playoffs.

The bottom line is that we all have the same goal. Wouldn’t it make sense to support each other instead of manufacturing problems and creating unnecessary drama? Seems to this old fan that a lot more could be accomplished by working together than tearing each other down.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BillsMafia.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @robynmundyWYO.

6 Replies to “The Intangibles: Marquise Goodwin and Using Social Media To Improve Player/Fan Interactions”

  1. I like your article and while I do agree fans have a right to boo. However, I can’t stand it. Booing your home team makes absolutely no sense. Especially in the pre-season.

    If your team is doing poorly, booing them is not going to help improve the situation. It’s not going to cause them to do better. (You can argue that it caused them to come out in the second half against the bucks and score twice). Wrong! The players pride caused that to happen.

    We as fans sometimes forget NFL players are human beings. They have emotions just like we do. If we boo them while they are down, it’s only going to further entice poor play. If we boo them, there confidence is going to be that much more shaken’d!

    Saturday’s preseason game was an embarrassment to our “Loyal” fan base. Booing in the pre season as if the entire season had already become a failure. It was ridiculous to say the least!

    That’s not what “Loyal” fan bases do. A loyal fan base would of stuck behind their team. A loyal fan base would have started a “Let’s Go Buffalo” chant to help energize the team. A loyal fan base would not have Boo’d.

    Many fans would argue, we have lost for 15 years. This is true. But these players have not! Don’t bring your baggage onto them. It will not help the cause. Both the fans and the players have the same goal! Win a Super Bowl! Booing is a negative thing. It completely takes away the Home Field Advantage!

    Whether you believe it or not, having 70,000 Cheering wildly for the home team or booing the home team can have an enormous effect on the game and the players performances.

    On a scientific level, 70,000 cheers can cause adrenaline to rush through a players veins, making him feel invincible. On the other hand, 70,000 people booing them can literally crush thier spirits, making them feel worthless. Thus is why home field advantage is as such, A HUGE ADVANTAGE!

    Imagine if you where ask to do something your amazing at. Say your adoctor doing surgery. A hard task in and of itself. Now add 70,000 people surrounding you, all booing as loud as they possible can. Do you get the point?

    Being positive as a fan can do wonders. Look at the Seahawks fan base. They are on record as being the loudest fan base in history. They all came together as one via Social Media in attempt to break said record. What unity, what passion, what LOYALTY!

    Do you think it’s a coincidence that they won the Super Bowl? I think not. They had the most positive rabid fan base of any team last year.

    Who won the super bowl before them? The Ravens! A team who had arguably the best leader of all time leading the way with his faith and positivity and a fan base that followed suit knowing it was his last ride. Did anyone believe the Ravens where the best team last year. Nope! They weren’t but somehow they managed to win the super bowl!

    Being mean to players on twitter or booing them at the games is NOT going to help the team win. If anything, it’s going to cause Players to not want to give it their all when they take the field!

    However being positive and supporting can literally propel a team into the history books!

    We have a choice as the Bill’s Mafia. We can be legendary to our team. Supporting them at every step of the way in attempt of reaching our goal of winning the Super Bowl or we can Boo and degrade them on social media how COWARDS would!

    It’s our choice! I choose the path of positivity, love and passion. Who’s with me?

  2. Hi Brian,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I couldn’t agree with you more. While I do understand why other fans boo poor play on the field, I’ve never done it, nor would I likely ever do so. Just not the way I roll.

    Like your excellent response, IMO negativity begets negativity, and life seems to be far more joyful when focused on the optimistic aspects of any given situation. It does seem over the top to boo during the preseason. It really does nothing but make things worse for all of us. Players and fans have the same goal, to win.

    Thanks again,

    Robyn

  3. He has proven nothing and he has never earned the right to open his mouth. He’s a gloried fly route c- rated mike Wallace. Fans support out buffalo bills. Go sit with Bon jovi you A hole. This is for the loyal fans who can be honest with their players. Produce a touchdown and then have something to say. Your a no body Goodwin. Rather have marquise lee with woods reunites

  4. That was an incredibly well written article by an incredibly well spoken and thoughtful fan.I’m new to this platform and as a 50+ yrs old guy I try to be reasonable with folks as I can.I admire your passionate plee for sanity and will do my bit to help the movement along.
    Proud BillsMafia member Thanks again Robyn

  5. I came all the way from Dallas Texas to see this preseason game and I must say it was embarrassing! Those players are human beings with feelings too. It was more of a shock to me because I’ve NEVER been to a game where the fans boo their own players. SMH…..everyone’s entitled to freedom of speech and if you got offended by the tweet then you must have been one of the ” loyal fans” booing.

  6. One more thing I would like to note,

    I think the booing was a product of the overblown negativity of the Buffalo Media. Radio Stations like WGR (minus the John Murphy Show) are always talking about the negative aspects of the team and overblowing every little detail of the team. I can’t believe the Buffalo Bills choose to affiliate with them as “The Radio Home of the Buffalo Bills”.

    I think it has caused many fans to already give up on E.J. Manuel which is insane. He has only played 10 games yet the Radio Stations and many fans are acted like he is the reason we have lost for the last 15 years. Give the kid a chance.

    The only time I have ever seen a home Crowd Boo their own fans is when a QB is at the helm that the fan base no longer supports with a backup QB waiting to get his chance in which the fan base thinks is the better choice.

    I think the Boo’ing happened as a result of the many fans thinking Manuel is not the answer due to all the skepticism that the Media brainwashes onto the fans.

    It’s really sad. As someone who has played and fully understands the nuances of the game of football from playcalling to the small details of running a route correctly. I know for a fact Manuel has all the tools necessary to become a great QB. It will be a shame if we give up on Manuel too soon before his potential comes to fruition ala San Diego with Drew Brees.

    Lastly, everyone needs to CALM down about the offense. It’s Pre Season and the Bills have ran the most Vanilla Offense imaginable. They have practically been running at most, 12 different plays. All mostly coming from 3 formations. The I Formation, Singleback Big Set or Singleback 3 WR set.

    The offense has much more in store for when the regular season starts!