Lessons learned from Lamont Twitter row
I applaud Rory Lamont for the apology he has given for comments made on Twitter about US president Barack Obama and reckon every rugby player has now learned a lesson.
The trouble is in a world where more and more sportsmen and women are media-trained to be as bland as possible, I want my heroes to say things.
And the truth is that sometimes you can't actually say what you think - especially if the language is too strong.
Nowadays sports stars say these things on Twitter, which is a system of electronic public message boards.
Tweeters write a thought or a message, or capture someone else's, and put it up for the world to see.
Tweeters principally see messages scribbled by those they elect to "follow" and the reverse is true but, in general, any tweeter can look for the tweets of another member.
So, if a 12-year-old girl rugby fan "follows" you or even searches for your tweets she reads what you say.
Rory Lamont has apologised for any offence his Twitter comments may have caused
And that's Rory's trouble. Brian O'Driscoll, now with 131,000 followers wanting to read his tweets, was the world's most followed rugby player prior to the World Cup.
Rory is followed by more than 2,000 people but they, and anyone else who searched for his tweets, saw language he acknowledges was inappropriate.
There is a bigger picture here though.
The fastest advance in the relationship between players and fans has been through their ability to communicate directly with each other on new media platforms, crucially, away from the prying eyes of the PR departments of the various rugby unions.
All rugby fans, actually, want to know what Rory Lamont and other players just like him are up to and, to some extent, what they think.
Maybe you don't, but I do. And every day on Twitter I see Scottish rugby players messaging back to fans who are asking them questions, or helping charities who want profile, or just having a laugh with fans who, just two years ago, would not have been able to talk directly to them in any way whatsoever.
Let me take you back just under 10 years; the day rugby became professional the players involved in the game began to say less about life away from the pitch.
"It's going to be a very tough game" was soon heard; as was "the only pressure involved is the pressure we are putting on ourselves".
Other common phrases included: "We aren't thinking about what they are going to do just about our own game," "it's the performance that counts not the result" and
"we want the fans to get behind us".
There was a long list of other comments that had been agreed as being ready to trot out for the public.
They started saying in public, frankly, what they were allowed to say, or told to say.
Twitter, thankfully, changed all that.
The trouble with Twitter, though, is that it's broadcasting.
Words said on Twitter are more dangerous than those written in newspapers which, of course, can be soaked in salt and vinegar within a day.
Unless the tweeter deletes his or her comments they remain, on an internet page, for all to see.
I always think there are two levels to any discussion: there's the conversation you can have with a friend or a colleague on the understanding that it goes no further, and there's the edited version you can say on air or in a newspaper column.
Whether we like it or not the words we say in public have to be selected carefully.
You can only tweet what you'd be happy to broadcast. You see, I know, I've made a few errors.
Twitter inhabits a blurred line between what you would say on air, and, troublingly, what you would say in a pub.
But just to finish on this point: Twitter is a good thing for rugby.
Please let this be a little line in the sand. I really hope that the governing bodies don't clamp down and prevent modern players using modern media mechanisms to communicate with an increasingly young and media savvy modern rugby fan base.
What do you think?