Rodney Williams apologizes for tweet

Today, my colleague Eamonn Brennan wrote about NC State freshman T.J. Warren's decision to re-tweet a message that was critical of head coach Mark Gottfried.

The original tweet was authored by former player Thomas De Thaey, who called Gottfried a “terrible” coach after the Wolfpack’s Tuesday night loss to Wake Forest. As Eamonn explains, re-tweets in this scenario are rarely beneficial for the re-tweeter, especially if that particular person is a current member of the team.

(Let’s all pause for a moment to collectively shake our heads.)

In general, any tweet that can be interpreted as a negative message about the team, teammate, coach, administration or university is a risk for any college athlete. Seems simple enough, right?

Minnesota’s Rodney Williams (12.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg) understands that now.

After Tuesday’s practice, the senior issued an apology for a tweet that suggested he felt slighted by Tubby Smith’s postgame comments following last week’s loss to Michigan.

Here’s the tweet that Williams sent to Minnesota starters Trevor Mbakwe, Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins and Joe Coleman: "Damn we got threw waaaaayyyyy under the bus tonight fellas @Double__1 @AndreHollins @TMbakwe32 @aHolli_20"

Here’s the Star Tribune’s Amelia Rayno with more:

After practice on Tuesday, Williams addressed the tweet, saying it was in reaction to some “outside comments” and not related directly to the team.

“It was just a dumb comment I made,” he said. “I was just mad about everything. I should have never made that comment.”

After the Michigan game, a visibly frustrated Smith took the podium and, unprompted, stated concerns with the team’s practices heading into that game.

“I was disappointed in our practice yesterday, to be honest with you in the defensive effort, especially in our starting group, and it showed today,” he said then. “It raised its ugly head.”

On Wednesday night, the No. 12 Gophers will face a Northwestern squad that they haven’t beaten in Evanston, Ill., in four years. They’ve managed to crack the national rankings, because Smith has his most talented and athletic team at Minnesota. And for the first time in years, Minnesota looks like a squad that’s capable of making a run in March.

But off-court challenges have derailed those plans in the past.

Yes, it’s just one tweet. Williams was contrite and remorseful, so we can all move on.

The bigger issue, however, is whether this Minnesota crew will avoid the drama that’s interrupted progress throughout Smith’s tenure. It’s very quiet right now. And that hasn’t been the norm.

The other issue for Williams and other NBA prospects is that they don’t want to send the wrong message to the pros. Last week, an NBA scout told me that Williams had finally “arrived” after years of inconsistency.

Social media choices can affect that perception.