New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle isn't creating a lot of fans in New York these days.
On Thursday, Rolle compared fans booing the team to people booing soldiers who return home from Iraq.
"They want to make it that guys paid this much money for a ticket," Rolle said. "Yeah, I understand that, I understand completely. We risk ourselves out there on the field each and every day also. When soldiers come home from Iraq, you don't boo them. I look at it the same way. I take my job seriously."
Rolle's comments were insensitive, to say the least. Rolle later apologized, saying that he should not have used the soldier analogy and that his father, the chief of police in Homestead, Fla., would be disappointed.
It's just one of many stories of an athlete saying something he later comes to regret, and it's the second time that Rolle has been involved this season. In Week 2, Rolle complained about the organization's leadership after losing to Indianapolis.
Everyone has said something dumb before. The only thing that makes Rolle dumber than others is that he apparently doesn't realize how large of an audience he actually has.
As sports reporting branches out to social media, it's becoming easier and easier for an athlete to get caught with his foot in his mouth.
In September, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis posted what he thought was an innocent tweet about the 24-percent pay cut that NHL players accepted after the 2004-2005 lockout. In a time when millions are unemployed, a goalie who makes $3 million per year complaining about money seemed ridiculous to many fans, and the berating he got from it forced him to leave the social media site.
"It's unfortunate, because Twitter is a way to show a personal side, show something that isn't in the regular newspaper. It's everyday life," Ellis said at the time. "Unfortunately, something like this can really ruin something like that."
It is unfortunate, because it's nice to see an unfiltered view of an athlete's life. It's boring to hear the same, managed message coming from athletes time and time again. But Rolle, Ellis and others need to learn that those video cameras aren't filming home videos and social media sites aren't private journals. They still have to think before speaking.
How can athletes walk the line between sharing too much and over-managing their message? Share your thoughts below.