Nik Lewis would have forgiven Calgary Stampeders fans had they blasted him via Twitter for the team’s slow start this season. The social media format is overtaking cyberspace and even plays a role in the relationship between football players and fans.
Lewis is one of three Stamps players who regularly exchange thoughts with fans through brief text messages, yet when the Grey Cup champions started the 2009 CFL season with back-to-back losses, Lewis was braced for the worst.
“I haven’t had to block anybody’s texts,” said Lewis, who tweets as Nikel18. “The fans have been encouraging, even after starting 0-2. I expected to see a lot more (negative) stuff, but they’ve been very positive about it and it’s great to know and it’s great to see that people just don’t jump off the bandwagon when things aren’t going too good.”
The Stampeders, now 1-2, travel to Vancouver to take on the Lions Friday, 8:30 p.m. at B.C. Place Stadium. It’s a rematch of last November’s West Division final with both teams entering the game in a three-way tie for second place in the division with the Edmonton Eskimos. Calgary knocked off B.C. in all four matchups in 2008 including the West Final.
While Stampeders fans might be following Lewis’ off-field thoughts via Twitter, the Stampeders receiver is often checking in with some NFL pass catchers courtesy of the same electronic phenomenon.
“I follow Chad Johnson and T.O. (Terrell Owens), two great guys,” said Lewis, who may not play Friday because of a nagging hip injury. “The fans get to see a little bit of insight into our lives as football players and what we do each day, even when we’re not on the field. It’s a bit of reality that we do the same things everybody else does each day.”
Quarterback Henry Burris is also sharing his thoughts, but the star remains cautious about providing too many details.
“I tweet every day, but I don’t tell people where I’m going for breakfast and lunch and all that every day because people start showing up,” Burris laughed. “I like doing it. It’s fun for the fans to see what we do when we’re off the field.”