Too many among us have trigger-happy fingertips. What we all need are clearer heads. Like the ones used in Caleb Williams’ Twitter timeline after his “Stooppppssss” tweet.
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Here’s a story about Caleb Williams, OU fans and social media. If that sounds like a toxic combination, I promise we’ll end peacefully. Maybe even hopefully.
We begin with Drake Stoops, the Sooner legacy who helped his NFL prospects at the East-West Shrine Bowl last week by running routes like the one posted on Red Dirt Media’s Twitter/X account.
Williams shared the clip on his account and with it a message of support: “Stooppppssss.” It seemed an unconditionally kind gesture from a quarterback to his former receiver.
Unfortunately, social media is often a feeding frenzy for what a wise former colleague of mine just termed our “addiction to outrage.” Sure enough, not an hour after Williams’ tweet, there came a reply reading: “Dude when u gonna realize ZERO Oklahoma fans like u lil bro.”
It was from someone whose Twitter bio begins with “number one fan of the Oklahoma Sooners.” Oh boy. Would there be 100 more fans in his wake? 500? Was this chum for the sharks?
It set up to be a fight.
Williams left OU weeks after Brent Venables arrived, not because there was anything wrong with the new coach, he just wanted to follow the old one to USC. The old one had an unquestionable NFL Draft record when it came to quarterbacks. Now he was coaching in name, image and likeness-lucrative Los Angeles.
That put time and circumstance on Williams’ side when he chimed in on Stoops, and with them people’s capacity for forgiveness and reason.
The other side had Williams’ 2022 Heisman Trophy, the one secured with old coach Lincoln Riley while the Sooners languished to a 6-7 season under the new guy.
The other side had a grudge embodied by the “ZERO fans like u” tweet. The 2023 season, when Williams and the Trojans languished as Venables’ team surged to 10 wins, wasn’t much use here.
You know what won out? What decided this battle between forgiveness and bitterness?
Fans who jumped in to support Williams’ message, and to clap back at his original critic, recognized that Stoops wasn’t the only legacy involved here. They celebrated Williams for beating Texas in ‘21, and then Oregon in an Alamo Bowl that sent interim coach Bob Stoops out a winner.
Perspective won out.
Too many among us have trigger-happy fingertips. Fifty years after the guy in that movie seethed “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore,” too many among us growl “I’m as mad as hell and I’m gonna let everybody in the world know about it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram RIGHT DAMN NOW!!!”
What we all need are clearer heads. Like the ones used in Williams’ timeline after his “Stooppppssss” tweet. They expressed sentiments ranging from “good luck in the draft” to “you made a business decision” to “maybe you’ll throw to that guy again in the NFL” to “we’ve used transfers to our benefit as well.”
This wasn’t a feeding frenzy but a thought process. How reassuring.
The word “traitor” appeared far down Williams’ timeline. So did names more vulgar than that.
But not before Williams’ allies had won the fight by TKO.
I’d like to think they remembered the last time Williams threw Stoops a pass was for a touchdown in that 2021 Alamo Bowl victory. Drake and his dad were delighted about the moment in the postgame press conference. So was Williams.
“We almost took that play out, by the way. Almost,” Williams said as he and the Stoopses beamed. “Kept it in, worked it a few more times and got a touchdown off of it. So not too bad.”
The day after Wiliams’ “Stooppppssss” message appeared, Stoops quote-tweeted the quarterback with a message of his own: “#OUDNA.”
With that, reason had beaten outrage like the Sooners beat the Longhorns in ‘21. It was just as unpredictable an outcome, given the ease with which malcontents pirate social media anymore.
Score one for Caleb Williams, his old receiver and his old fan base.
So not too bad indeed.