New York Daily News

Jocks need to chill out with anti-social media


When it comes to the media, James (Guitar Jimmy) Dolan is known for running an uptight organizati­on. Some would even dare suggest there is some paranoia involved, at least if you think having Knicks PR operatives shadowing reporters is strange.

Perhaps Dolan now should have one of his stooges put a tail on Amar’e Stoudemire, the man with the itchy Twitter finger. Stoudemire revealed himself to be a homophobic jerk after Brian Ferrelli had the temerity to tweet that Stoudemire “better come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season. Mannnn deadass!!!”

No matter that Ferrelli was speaking for plenty of Knicks fans who are beginning to see Stoudemire as another overpaid, underperfo­rming acquisitio­n who came to the Garden to cash in on Dolan’s Madison Square Early Retirement Plan. No, in return for Ferrelli’s comment Stoudemire lashed out, resorting to bigotry — and stupidity.

“F--- you!” Stoudemire responded in a direct message to Ferrelli, who retweeted it to the masses. “I don’t have to do anything f--.” This warped response, this anti-gay slur, from one of the faces of the Knickerboc­kers? This from a guy who we see in heartwarmi­ng features about “The Garden of Dreams” on the Madison Square Garden Network? This from one of the stars of David Stern’s National Basketball Associatio­n, who appears in those public service announceme­nts for reading programs and such.

Hey, Stoudemire, is this the type of language you are teaching these kids? Or is your hate-speak exclusivel­y reserved for Twitter, where millions can access it?

Stoudemire quickly apologized. On Twitter, of course. Only a fool would accept his halfbaked apology.

Dolan should levy a stiff fine on Stoudemire. Stern should, too. The NBA’s initial response was to say it will be reviewing the situation. The league wasn’t expected to rule Monday night. The commission­er already set a precedent in 2011 when he fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 for using the same slur against a referee during a game.

Holding your breath waiting for Dolan to fine Stoudemire will be hazardous to your health. We haven’t seen direct evidence that the Garden boss has a problem with players insulting a segment of the Knicks’ fan base.

In 2001, Charlie Ward and Allan Houston (currently the Knicks assistant GM) made anti-Semitic comments in a New York Times story. Dolan took no action against them. MSG issued a statement saying the views of Ward and Houston “do not reflect” the views of MSG or the Knicks. Incredibly, the MSG statement mentioned the player’s excuse/copout that they were taken out of context. At the time, MSG Network Knicks broadcaste­rs mentioned the controvers­y, but did not dare offer an opinion.

When the 2012-2013 season commences, Stoudemire’s tweet will be old news. On MSG, we will be hearing about how fans can follow their favorite Knicks on Twitter. So what if the players’ tweets are offensive, Twitter is a great way of spreading the Knicks’ brand, right? It’s always about the money. Strange things happen on MSG, but we doubt Stoudemire’s infamous tweet will be flashed on the screen as an example of “what the Knicks are saying on Twitter.”

When Stoudemire, or anyone else for that matter, decides to open a Twitter account, it comes with the right for someone, anyone, to attach a bull’s-eye to you and fire away with personal insults, obscenitie­s, lies, lovely references about your wife, along with other assorted garbage. So, if you decide you want to play this game, you better enter the arena with a double coat of thick skin. Stoudemire came to the party Charmin-soft and responded in the worst possible way to a legit comment that was by no means over the top. So, unless Dolan enjoys having his organizati­on embarrasse­d and doesn’t mind the Garden being home to a homophobe like Stoudemire, he should consider adding some Twitter training to that required media course Knicks players take.

Then Stoudemire could be instructed that if he can’t take the heat on Twitter, he might want to close down his account. Or that if he wants to remain in the Twitter business, and a tweet angers him, he should take a deep breath, count to 10 and stick his fingers in his pockets.

Oh yeah, the instructor could also remind J.R. Smith that New York Knickerboc­kers should not tweet a photo of a lady’s derriere. It’s not very Knick-like. This is all about common sense. By no means is Stoudemire the first to take the Twitter bait and respond by revealing his own prejudices. Yet no one forced him to respond. No one told him what to say. His spin doctor is saying this was all a big mistake that he wishes he could take back. That’s a line of garbage. This was all Amar’e Stoudemire. It’s all on him.

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