Sports

Social media experts say college players need tools to cope when online heckling turns to hate

  • Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett, center, watches his field goal attempt hit the goalpost with teammates Sean Culkin, right, and Mitch Hall and South Carolina's Skai Moore during the second overtime of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Columbia, Mo. South Carolina won 27-24. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

    Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett, center, watches his field goal attempt hit the goalpost with teammates Sean Culkin, right, and Mitch Hall and South Carolina's Skai Moore during the second overtime of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Columbia, Mo. South Carolina won 27-24. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)  (The Associated Press)

  • Nebraska wide receiver Kenny Bell (80) pulls in a pass from quarterback Taylor Martinez in front of Minnesota defensive back Eric Murray (31) for a 42-yard gain during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Minneapolis Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

    Nebraska wide receiver Kenny Bell (80) pulls in a pass from quarterback Taylor Martinez in front of Minnesota defensive back Eric Murray (31) for a 42-yard gain during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Minneapolis Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)  (The Associated Press)

College coaches and administrators concerned about tweets their athletes might send also should be wary of the ones their athletes receive.

Social media experts point to vitriolic messages directed at football players Andrew Baggett of Missouri and Kenny Bell of Nebraska as examples of why schools should counsel athletes on how to cope with criticism crossing the line from heckling to hate.

Athletes say most of their interaction with fans is positive. Baggett said supportive tweets outnumbered the negative "20 fold" after he missed a big field goal last week and that no one's comment made him feel worse than he already did.

Bell, however, tweeted that he was "truly bothered by hateful comments" after the Cornhuskers lost.