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Program teaches students to think before posting

OKLAHOMA CITY - What you post on social media, even as a young teenager, can affect you years down the road - a reality former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is all too familiar with.

Hours after winning the Heisman Trophy, Murray had to apologize for tweets that included ant-gay slurs, even though he was just 14 or 15 years old at the time.

Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association Assistant Director Mike Whaley said it’s hard to get kids that age to think about the consequences of their actions.

“Well, I think it's a very difficult thing to get a younger child, especially someone in high school or early years of college, to realize and think past the end of the week,” Whaley said. “When they post things, they stay out there, and they will be out there for a long time.”

Now, many athletic programs include social media training, and it starts in high school. Edmond schools, for example, have a social media awareness campaign aimed at students called 'Think Before You Post.'

“I think we try to make sure that the student athletes realize that those are the things that can get them in a bind down the road,” Whaley said.

NFL Agent Kelli Masters is no stranger to playing damage control after a social media post goes wrong.

“I have, in the past, had players that posted things that have been taken the wrong way, and we had to address those things,” Masters said. “That’s just the age we live in.”

Masters works with her players on social media decision making to try and keep a situation like this from happening. She also goes through their accounts, just like NFL teams do, to see if there are any red flags before she agrees to represent them. Right or wrong, she said it is just a reality today’s athlete has to deal with.

“There’s going to be a level of scrutiny that may seem a little unfair to a lot of athletes,” she said. “Because of the position they are in, they have to realize, they do, they have the freedom to say but they don’t have the freedom of consequences from that.”

Masters represents NFL hopefuls like Oklahoma’s Carson Meier and Taylor Cornelius from Oklahoma State.

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