WHEN WORD got out that Charlie Villanueva of the Bucks sent a Twitter update at halftime of an NBA game on March 15, not everyone was as galled as his coach Scott Skiles, who reprimanded the forward, saying, "It's nothing we ever want to happen again." Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale, for instance, couldn't summon up any outrage, mainly because he had no idea what he was supposed to be outraged about. "I heard someone say Charlie Villanueva was tweeting," McHale said. "I thought it meant he went in to take a leak at halftime."
But tweeting, or updating one's status on the social networking site—which, as Villanueva pointed out, is no more intrusive than giving a brief interview while walking to the locker room, as many players are asked to do—is gaining popularity, not to mention acceptance. Last Saturday, Shaquille O'Neal planned to send a halftime tweet, only to be told that Suns coach Alvin Gentry was fine with the idea. "I was going to do it and not get in trouble, then brag about not getting in trouble," O'Neal groaned. (O'Neal went ahead and sent the message: "Shhhhhhh.") And last Friday the new Women's Professional Soccer league announced it will encourage players to tweet away.