Typically when Florida Panthers prospect Rocco Grimaldi uses his 140 characters or less, it’s to offer a motivational message to his followers.
But when Grimaldi turned to his Twitter account on Thursday, the message was less than inspirational.
The five-foot-six forward selected in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft opted instead to use the social media device to release a rant.
“Ladies, you can help us guys out big time,” Grimaldi began in a span of five tweets. “Put your boobs away and everything else that is hanging out. Guys have a hard enough time with that temptation without u (sic) helping it along. When did being a beautiful girl become dressing with the least amount of clothes on? When did what u (sic) wear become a competition? Before you dress ask, ‘Does this outfit honor God, does it honor my body, does it help serve/love my brothers?’ If it’s a no to any of those questions, then u (sic) shouldn’t wear that outfit #ThinkBeforeYouDress.”
A far cry from Grimaldi’s regular tweeting behavior, like today’s offering from the California native:
“Lord, come purify our hearts, cleanse us like a flood, and send us out so the world may know You reign, You reign in us #LivingSacrifice.”
It was Grimaldi’s sudden change in tone Thursday that caught the eye of Greg Wyshynski, editor at Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy. Wyshynski was quick to pen a response criticizing the 18-year-old for his views, calling them “kind of sexist, archaic thoughts that cloud the positive impact of faith.”
Wyshynski further explained to Future Considerations.
“I don’t find Rocco promoting his faith on Twitter shocking,” Wyshynski said, one of Grimaldi’s 5,627 followers. “I think he can be a positive force out there, as he’s already a role model given that a player his size has accomplished so much. His rant, I felt, detracted from that. I also felt it was contradictory. I also felt that, as a father, the last thing I want is to have someone objectifying my daughter in the name of religion, or asking that she modify her behavior because of their own weaknesses. It’s not his place.”
Throughout his young hockey career, Grimaldi has used his status to spread the word of the Lord. In fact, the former member of the United States National Team Development Program has used his career as a way to share his faith.
“Hockey is a great way for me to share my faith as I have had many opportunities to share with teammates, coaches, roommates at camps, etcetera,” Grimaldi told Future Considerations last year. “I do get made fun of here and there but its just good and fun. They respect me because of it; they don’t understand how I can (live for God), stay clean, pure and everything. When they need help or prayer they always come to me for it. I think its great because I have the answer: Christ.”
His answer also solves the question of why Grimaldi fell to 33rd overall in June’s draft after being slotted 14th in Future Considerations’ final ranking for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Wyshynski said Grimaldi’s open faith discouraged some teams at the draft table.
“I know it did,” he admitted. “I was told as much from multiple sources. And I was told the Panthers were going to be aware of this dust-up too. You hope that, in the end, a player’s actions mean more than his words. But it’s a business, and the Panthers can’t exactly allow any fans to be chased away.”
But religion and sport do not need to be separated, Wyshynski said.
“Not completely,” he offered. “If a player wants to thank God in an awards speech or after winning the Stanley Cup, I don’t care. I don’t care when players pray over an injured player. I care when the separation of church and state, for example, is violated by things like ‘Faith Day at the Ballpark’.”
Despite Wyshynski’s disagreement with Grimaldi’s Twitter outburst, it hasn’t changed the respect he has for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux forward.
“Not at all,” he said. “I think you can be critical of someone’s views while still respecting another human being.”
And in fewer than 140 characters, Wyshynski offered his final take on Grimaldi.
“The kid can be a very positive force for fans but he needs to avoid these pitfalls.”
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!