After a day of working, I turned on my phone and checked my Twitter. One name seemed to appear a lot throughout my feed: Omar Kelly.
Not familiar with Omar? Consider yourself lucky. Kelly, a columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and NFL beat writer, took aim at Bills fans Thursday.
To all my Buffalo critics….enjoy your NFL franchise while you still have one. (Drops mic)
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) April 24, 2014
Dolphins road trips that you need to avoid. 1. Buffalo (Armpit of NY) 2. Detroit (whack city, far airport). I’ve warmed up to Jacksonville
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) April 24, 2014
If you have a Twitter account, you know that fans of opposing AFC East teams will “troll” from time to time. But a professional journalist doing so? Well, there’s nothing professional about that.
Personally, I don’t consider myself to be a professional journalist. Writers like Tim Graham and Jay Skurski are local guys that I really look up to. They’re professionals. I went to school for education and that is my primary job. That said, I love what I do as a blogger and I take this job just as seriously as my primary job. In fact, I have a few simple rules that Mr. Kelly should probably start following.
1. Be professional.
2. Accuracy is important.
3. Research before you speak (or tweet).
I try to be as professional as possible on social media. Disagree with something I say? No problem. I’m all for having a discussion and hearing the point of view of others. I’ve been trolled by Patriots, Jets and Dolphins fans. It’s okay to respond, although it doesn’t generally help. That said, for every “troll” out there, I’ve interacted with five times as many witty and intelligent fan of an AFC East rival. I’d never address an entire fan base based on a few tweets from one or two fans.
Simply put, Kelly was extremely unprofessional today. Part of me was expecting the tweets to come down and an insincere apology to be sent out. It never came.
I have no doubt that some Bills fans were trolling Kelly, but the block button is easy to use. Insinuating that the Bills will be leaving Buffalo was a childish move. Calling Buffalo the armpit of New York was even more juvenile. Kelly is in his thirties, but clearly has a lot of growing up to do.
Accuracy is Important
When I write and tweet, I make sure that what I write is accurate. This is extremely important when it comes to Bills news. When the Bills offered Jim Schwartz the defensive coordinator job, I waited to hear back from my source for confirmation. Once I received it, I put the news out there. Even if that meant someone else “breaking the story,” I was okay with it. I rather be accurate than first.
Consider this another area where Kelly is in need of improvement. Back in February in 2013, Kelly was the first to report that Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant was arrested in Miami-Dade. What a great “get” for Kelly! The only problem is that it wasn’t Dez Bryant who was arrested, it was defensive tackle Desmond Bryant.
Kelly was the first to break the story, but he should have waited to get the facts. Omar deleted the original tweet and sent out an apology to his Twitter followers. Hopefully, Kelly reached out to Dez Bryant and apologized after carelessly sharing incorrect information.
Research Before You Speak or Tweet
When writing an article, I take research seriously. If stats are being used, I make sure I can cite the stats. If you can’t back up what you say, don’t write it or tweet it.
In February, Omar Kelly decided to bring his hot takes to the 2014 NFL Draft.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 22, 2014
A fan asked Kelly about Taylor Lewan’s impressive 40-yard dash. As you can read, Kelly thought it was “cool” but was concerned about Lewan’s “tiny arms.”
Thankfully, Matt Miller, an outstanding analyst over at Bleacher Report, pointed out that Lewan’s “tiny arms” weren’t that tiny. In fact, they were longer than Joe Thomas’ and Jake Long’s arms. Kelly probably should have compared Lewan’s arm length to some of the best tackles in the NFL before tweeting the information out.
Omar Kelly is a unique individual. He once tweeted about shooting a man with intent to harm. Why did Kelly do this? Nobody knows.
Much like that tweet, I’m not sure why Kelly tweeted what he did about Buffalo on Thursday. Perhaps he was looking for attention in the form of mentions, retweets and favorites. Either way, Omar Kelly was out of line and clearly hadn’t done his research.
Kelly is assuming that the next owner of the Buffalo Bills will eventually move the team. Is it possible? Unfortunately, yes. That said, there are plenty of interested groups who want to purchase the Bills and keep them in Buffalo. Time will tell if the Bills’ days are numbered in Buffalo, but Omar Kelly doesn’t have a crystal ball. It’s simply a case of Kelly tweeting information without doing any research.
Omar Kelly is also very brave to make fun of the Bills as he covers the Dolphins. If he had looked at last year’s attendance numbers, he’d see that Buffalo averaged more fans than Miami in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The team is doing pretty well in local television ratings as well. In 2013, Buffalo ranked 11th in the NFL and ahead of the Dolphins.
As for calling Buffalo the armpit of New York, it’s no coincidence that Miami is near the bottom of Florida. It’s fitting to say that Miami is the butt of Florida. It’s a perfect fit for Omar Kelly, as there’s no bigger ass in Miami than him.