November 6, 2012

UCLA diffuses Twitter controversy



Randall Goforth has an Instagram account, and he has a Facebook account, but Twitter?

"Never owned a Twitter," UCLA's safety said. "Never tweeted. Never done anything."

It's a good thing for the true freshman, because if he did have a Twitter, and was in fact the one spouting off tweets to USC players on Monday night, head coach Jim Mora certainly wouldn't have been happy to see him Tuesday morning.

A fake Goforth account emerged last month, picked up roughly 3,500 followers in a two-week span - many from Bruin football and basketball players - and then set off a Twitter frenzy Monday evening, with a slurry of tweets aimed at USC and receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods.

The beginning: "@HeismanWoods We will beat you guys on November 17th. Believe the hype."

That led to a back-and-forth banter between Goforth, Woods and Lee, who got involved later in the argument, and it all eventually culminated in an all-caps Goforth tweet saying: USC SUCKS!! WE WILL GET IT IN NOVEMBER 17TH. ALL ABOUT ACTION NO NEED TO BRAG JUST BE TUNED IN ON THE 17TH!!!!"

About half an hour later, the tweets poured in from current Bruin players letting both USC and football fans know the Goforth account was a fake.

Then, the head coach himself came on Twitter, issuing this tweet:

"FYI … @RandallG300 is a fake. The real Randall Goforth is preparing for Washington State," Mora said.

After Tuesday morning's practice, Mora wasn't nearly as kind with his words.

"It is absolutely, 100 percent not Randall, " Mora said. "I talked to (USC coach) Lane Kiffin, he's talked to his guys, I've talked to my guys, it's a total non-issue. Some knuckleheads out there trying to stir it up. It's been shut down. Randall was in tutoring session when this idiot was tweeting. It's ridiculous. Power of social media is amazing and when it's used in a negative way like that, it's sickening.

"I think it's a fricken joke that somebody would do that. I think you're the lowest form of lifeform if you would portray yourself as an 18-year-old young man who's out here trying to do his best, trying to stir it up like that, attributing comments to him that aren't his - I think he ought to go to jail. That's how I feel. I think you're a scumbag."

Mora's rant didn't stop there. When asked how he would punish the culprit, he fired off this quip:

"Bring his ass out here," the head coach said. "We won't put him to work. He won't make it very far with this team.

"He's a coward. That's what cowards do. Cowards hide behind print … I challenge that guy to come on out here. Whoever it is. He won't though, he's a coward."

Goforth, who was much calmer than his head coach, said the whole issue was "shocking" to him when he found out about it while trying to get some English homework taken care of.

"I was in tutoring and some of my teammates just told me like, 'Bro, you're all over Twitter ramming at USC,'" Goforth said. "And I was like, 'Me? Nah, no way.' My coaches took care of it, people took care of it, and I just brushed it off. It's cool."

The fake Goforth account has since been suspended, and the true freshman said if it were up to him, there'd never be another one, even if he were at the controls.

"I was never into all that internet stuff because my parents said, 'Never believe what you hear on the internet because most of the time it's not true,'" Goforth said. "So I just live by that and I don't get caught up in all that internet talk. I just do me."





 

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