NFL players have every right to use Twitter, but if I ran a team, I would insist players stay away from the popular social media tool because it sends out the message -- in 140 characters or less -- that they put themselves ahead of the team.
The key to winning in the NFL is to get a group of guys who buy into a team-first philosophy. The Patriots haven't been the most talented team of this decade, but they win because everyone plays their role. Tweeting is all about promoting the individual. It helps make players more popular, but it doesn't do anything to help the team win.
When you look back at the guys who played the game the right way through the years, they never would have done anything like Twitter. Old-school players scoffed at distractions from the game. Can you imagine Dick Butkus or Ray Nitschke embracing social media?
The true test of Twitter will come during the season. Defenders of social media say they bring the player closer to the fans. But as a fan, how will you feel about your favorite player if he's Tweeting after a loss? Don't you want him studying his playbook or wallowing in misery until he gets a chance to redeem himself? If a team wins, players Tweeting comes off as bragging. Act like you've been there and hand the ball to the official after you score a touchdown. Don't go to the sideline and tell your online buddies how good you are.
There's no reason for the NFL to ban players from using Twitter because most of what they write is harmless. The onus lies on the teams and the players to decide if they want to embrace something that doesn't help them reach their larger goals.
Fans may enjoy knowing what their favorite players are doing throughout the day. But their job is to help their teams win, so if Twitter doesn't help with that, what's the point?