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Texas A&M football coach sacks pool boy on Twitter for tweet

Technically Incorrect: Football coach Kevin Sumlin was on the phone at home. His pool boy observed and tweeted about the experience. The coach was not happy.


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Think before you tweet, says Texas A&M coach. Did he? Texas A&M Athletics/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

These are dangerous times.

The problem isn't that walls have ears, but that humans have microphones. Each muttered word, each passing guffaw can be seized and broadcast by a foreign party. Soon, you discover how your life is no longer your own.

This fate befell Texas A&M football coach Kevin Sumlin.

You'd think a man who had the pleasure of corralling Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny FootInMouthBall, would have no public problems greater than that.

He didn't count on his pool boy being a spy.

The scene was Sumlin's house. The pool boy, Rustin McFarland, was minding his own business until he wasn't.

For he couldn't resist the social pressure of reaching for his phone and tweeting: "Just cleaned Sumlin's pool. Saw him on the phone, hopefully with our new DC!"

Should you imagine that he was referring to a DC comic, you need to speak to a counselor. For this "DC" was the rumored new defensive coordinator of the Aggies. The previous one, Mark Snyder, had been fired.

Somehow, McFarland's tweet passed beneath Sumlin's eyes. His reaction was to be equally modern. Yes, Kevin Sumlin has a Twitter account. There, he offered his comment on McFarland's tweet: "You just lost your job!"

This all happened December 30. Those of kinder spirits thought he was joking. However on Wednesday, Sumlin appeared on ESPN's Mike and Mike Show and insisted this was a grave matter.

He said: "The message is if you come to somebody's house and somebody hires you, whatever you're doing, it's a little bit personal. If you're invading privacy, it's not a public deal and Twitter is public. So, you know, guess what? Don't come back."

Some will, naturally, support Sumlin's very Texan stance. How dare a pool boy tweet about coach's life?

But if your mind is tuned to forgiveness, you might wonder what secret McFarland actually betrayed.To my eyes, he revealed this: Coach Sumlin was on the phone. That's it. No more. There was no naming of Sumlin's phone-friend. (McFarland's tweets have now been rendered private.)

ESPN reported that McFarland, an A&M student, deleted his tweet very quickly, adding that he'd been kidding. Clearly, this wasn't good enough.

I contacted McFarland to ask for his side of events and will update, should I hear.

Still, it seems that Sumlin fired his pool boy on Twitter, which would show an eye-for-an eye attitude toward McFarland's privacy.

I do struggle sometimes with the vast egos of college coaches who earn enormous fortunes, while their players receive sometimes little education and no money.

Coach Sumlin feels he taught a young man a lesson. He feels he set an example. He explained to ESPN that his players get social media training and that he tries to teach them that once something is "out there," it really is out there.

But what if, instead of turning to Twitter, coach had sat his pool boy down next time he saw him and had a little man-to-boy chat? Would that have been a little more, well, educational?

Coach Sumlin offered his mantra to Mike and Mike: "Think before you tweet."

Did Sumlin?