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North Carolina

Former UNC safety speaks out about NCAA, social media

Posted September 27, 2011

Former North Carolina football player Deunta Williams, who was involved in the NCAA and university investigation into the football program, talked about his experience Tuesday and said he was treated unfairly by the NCAA.

Williams was suspended for four games and paid more than $450 to charity as a result of the NCAA investigation.

Williams spoke as a part of a panel on campus about the First Amendment and the football team as part of First Amendment Day at UNC.

Williams joined a panel of journalists and a professor with first-hand knowledge of what it's like to be the story and said he wanted to make sure the players' voices were also heard.

Williams: NCAA gag order was unfair Williams: NCAA gag order was unfair

“You feel like your character, you know I’m saying, is questioned,” Williams said.

Williams said it was frustrating not to be able to speak to reporters because the NCAA discourages talking publicly about investigations.

“When all of this speculation stuff was going on, they told us we could not share anything with anybody. Not your mom, not your dad, not anybody, but at the same time it’s all over ESPN,” Williams said.

Williams said mistakes by some former football players are nothing compared to accusations at other schools, and he said he felt North Carolina was put unfairly under the microscope.

“We’ve got to wake up and really understand that it’s not all about that degree in a lot of senses for a lot of people,” said Williams.

He said that although it wasn't the case for him, some players are coming to schools for the exposure and hopes to make big money in the NFL.

“The famous tweet that Marvin [Austin] tweeted was a rap lyric, and a lot of people didn’t understand it like that. They said, ‘Oh he’s really doing these things in his tweet’,” said Williams.

Williams said that Austin was eventually found to have committed violations and agreed with then-head Coach Butch Davis that restricting football players from Twitter was a good idea.

“It was one episode after another on Twitter, so I think it was a good move for us. Everybody is not mature enough to handle those responsibilities,” Williams admitted.

Some of the reporters on the panel expressed concerns that stopping players from tweeting meant some things might not be uncovered.

Kevin Best, UNC's director of football communications, said the Twitter restriction is just like any other team rule and is part of participating.

Football players at UNC don't have to shut down their social media accounts, but they aren't allowed to tweet as long as they are active. They can, however, have Facebook pages.

27 Comments

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  • BogeyBoy Sep 28, 12:39 p.m.

    If you think the NCAA treats kids fairly, or anyone for that matter, then you are truly naive. View More

    — Posted by genesmith2

    We've talked about this before and the reality is that college sports are such an enormous sham that most of us buy into with out eyes wide closed. Williams hits it on the head when he says "it’s not all about that degree in a lot of senses for a lot of people."

    For the NCAA, enforcement means walking a fine line between catching enough guys that the public will believe they're doing their job and all those athletes out there on Saturday are students on Monday, and turning a blind eye to enough stuff so that the talent in the product isn't watered down.

  • BogeyBoy Sep 28, 12:33 p.m.

    The ABC crowd really cracks me up. You guys are long over due for a "reality check". It's not... View More

    — Posted by douggie64

    So many strawmen such little time... But here you go:

    1. Nobody's claiming that UNC is the only school to have committed violations. But UNC has invested so much in promoting an image ("The Carolina Way") that when the curtain is pulled back to reveal something else it is more noteworthy than when say... and SEC school is found to have committed violations.

    2. You lose a bunch of credibility when you claim that the NCAA will be after Duke for the phone call from Poythress or the limo ride in Chicago or that they will be on NCSU's campus because of RW. The phone call falls into a very gray area as the bylaws would permit it by the letter of the law and I'll happily await how your explanation of how taking a limo to visit a recruit is a violation. Similarly, what exactly with RW is a violation? Keep swinging hard, you might accidentally hit something.

    3. The NCAA does not forbid players from speaking out regarding ongoing investigations. If you read the article it accurately states that they "discourage" talking publicly. Williams states that he was told he could not comment but that's hyperbole.

    4. The NCAA does not prohibit athletes from using Twitter. That's a UNC football thing. Half of the guys on the UNC BB team are active on twitter (K Marshall is the most interesting).

    Other than that, spot on with everything!

  • chuck2 Sep 28, 11:50 a.m.

    looking at the first 5 posts, that's why WRAL is shutting down the Forum posts. Too many people... View More

    — Posted by Cragsdale

    Amen. I remember when I was 18 and thought I knew everything and had no cameras in my face or reporters asking me questions. Now as an adult I look back and see I knew nothing when I was 18. It's amazing to see some of the comments people make about these "kids" and yes even though there are some of them as big a car they are still "kids". I would hate to think how I would feel if some of these comments were directed at a kid that was mine and I pretty sure I would exhaust all resources to find out who made them.

  • grh90 Sep 28, 11:10 a.m.

    looking at the first 5 posts, that's why WRAL is shutting down the Forum posts. Too many people... View More

    — Posted by Cragsdale

    If the ABCers put as much time and energy into supporting their teams as they do trying to slam UNC then they might not be getting blown out by substandard competition. They might have more than 1 winning season in the last 4.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Sep 28, 11:04 a.m.

    I think when the wall around K starts to crack it will be one of the largest scandals in NCAA... View More

    Well, he knows what he has to beat, since Carolina has already laid out the blueprint for him.

  • Krzyzewskiectomy Sep 28, 10:32 a.m.

    The ABC crowd really cracks me up. You guys are long over due for a "reality check". It's not... View More

    — Posted by douggie64

    I think when the wall around K starts to crack it will be one of the largest scandals in NCAA history.

  • Cragsdale Sep 28, 9:24 a.m.

    looking at the first 5 posts, that's why WRAL is shutting down the Forum posts. Too many people unable to grow up and not be stupid.

  • Spartacus Sep 28, 8:45 a.m.

    genesmith2: Good point! I think a lot of people have no idea what is
    really going on with the NCAA. You mentioned OSU as an example, but don't
    forget about Auburn. What a joke that was, declaring Newton eligible within 24 hours, so that he would not miss the big game. The smaller, less important schools
    don't get this kind of customer service.

  • genesmith2 Sep 28, 8:09 a.m.

    The NCAA is about money. The NCAA used to manage all the national TV contracts, but the large football schools decided they no longer wanted to share with their small cousins, and created the BCS, taking the football money away from the NCAA. This was a major blow, but it still leaves basketball, with millions going to the NCAA administration offices and salaries. Without basketball, the NCAA is a pauper (like the college athletes). The NCAA learned that some schools (football powers) and conferences are independent minded. That is why they seem to do very little to the Ohio States, where previous stars have often talked about sweetheart car deals, and yet they hammer smaller schools. Why do you think the NCAA found a way to allow Ohio State to play in the Sugar Bowl with admittedly tainted players, to win a game they knew would then be forfeited? Ohio State boosters are happy with another BCS win and another Big Ten Championship, the school gets 27+ million for playing, and later they forfeit the game. Ouch.
    Imagine the NCAA allowing UNC to use tainted players in a big game--fat chance. But really anger OSU and perhaps they decide enough! Then the Big Ten proposes to do the same with basketball as they did with football, and where is the NCAA? Intimidation works with some, and then some do the intimidation. The NCAA knows how far to push.
    Who said the world was fair?

  • Spartacus Sep 28, 8:01 a.m.

    Douggie64: EXACTLY! Well said!
    It is great to see some common sense for a change in this world of obnoxious,
    childish rubbish.

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