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Impossible to get away from spotlight

July 17, 2013
By John Mehno (johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com) , The Altoona Mirror

PITTSBURGH - Your mother always had two admonishments:

Wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident, and always behave because someone will surely be watching if you don't.

Breakfast table decorum prevents a discussion of the first point, but mom couldn't have been more correct about the second. Social media has guaranteed that.

If you're well-known, you'd better not be stumbling down the street, acting rudely or snuggling with someone who is not your spouse. Not only will someone see it, they'll whip out a phone to document it and have it on the Internet before you can say, "Hey, wait a minute."

Just ask Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey. He and his twin brother (and fellow NFLer) Michael were photographed at a birthday party wearing caps with the message, "Free Hernandez." The reference was to Aaron Hernandez, the New England Patriots player is currently in jail on a first degree murder charge.

Hernandez was a college teammate of the Pounceys at the University of Florida. Maurkice Pouncey has issued an apology for his choice of hat; Mike Pouncey has not commented.

Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy quarterback from Texas A & M, cut short a job at a Louisiana quarterback camp run by the Manning family, citing illness. Later, Manziel's father said his son was suffering from dehydration.

Within hours, people posted photos of Manziel enjoying himself in a bar the night before he failed to show up at the kids' camp. Some people concluded that may have contributed to his dehydration.

A couple of years ago, some Pirates players were surprised to discover photographs of them at a bar had been posted on the Internet.

In the old days, celebrities worried only about the paparazzi who would stalk them to get photographs. Now almost everyone has a camera in their pocket and the means to "publish" their photos. It's a potential 24/7 ambush.

You don't even have to be much of a celebrity to get that kind of attention. Anyone reasonably recognizable will do.

Misbehave and someone will see you. Worse than that, they'll show everyone else.

SUBHEAD: The road ahead

The next couple of weeks could tell us what kind of second half the Pirates will have.

They open with a weekend series at Cincinnati after the All-Star break, then go to Washington for a series against one of the teams chasing them for a wild card spot. Then the trip concludes in Miami.

They come back home for five games in four days against the St. Louis Cardinals. (There's a make-up doubleheader on Tuesday). Then it's August.

The non-waiver trading deadline comes up at the end of this month, and the guess here is the Pirates will make some moves. They could use another starting pitcher, and they need a right-handed bat.

One of the players other teams will be asking about is left-hander Justin Wilson, and the Pirates will be willing to deal him to get what they need.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

 
 
 

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