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.
“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.