Atlanta Falcons: Turbo Taylor’s Teachable Instagram Moment

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 10: Taylor Gabriel
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 10: Taylor Gabriel /

An exchange between Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and Instagram user provides a teachable moment for all.

With his speed and skills, deep threat Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (aka “Turbo”) is a player on the rise and one to watch.

Sure he’s struggled, as the team’s offense has, but he has the potential to explode and it won’t be long before “Turbo” Taylor takes-off.

Before he, or any of us take off, we should probably pause for a moment and think about the next step, though; an important lesson that an exchange between the Falcons receiver and an Instagram user taught us.

It all started when Taylor Gabriel posted a picture of him wearing a shirt that reads, “Real Players Don’t Bully” and encouraging others to rise up to the challenge of ending bullying on Instagram.

The image quickly garnered thousands of likes and a number of comments, including the following by Instagram user @mr.brutsman:

"“Glad you’re not ‘sticking to sports’ keep it up”"

Gabriel was quick to his reply with, “@mr.brutsman what r u talking about focus on going to work get off my page bro”.

His response clearly shows frustration as a result of the user’s comment. But why did Gabriel get frustrated?

The actual words in the user’s comment aren’t mean.

However, it’s difficult to determine the true meaning of text, in general.

And with a new-wave of cyber bullies and trolls in this day and age of social media, it’s especially hard to decipher the genuine, good-intentioned comments from the rest.

Given that Gabriel’s post is about bullying, an issue that I truly believe everyone experiences at some point in their life in one form or another, makes me understand Taylor’s response.

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However,  that context should also make us pause.

The user’s comment, like many on social media, lacked punctuation that would’ve made it easier to read and perhaps easier to be interpreted “correctly”.

However, even as is, what is written doesn’t scream malicious. Furthermore, go to the user’s profile (as many people do anyways) and you’ll see that just six days ago, he was presented with a Moral Courage Award by Get Head Strong for his efforts to change the stigma of mental health and therapy.

Rising up to breaking the stigma associated with mental health is important and does indeed take courage; just as standing up to ending bullying does.

Which is why I’m glad that this Instagram user and Gabriel cleared things up in the end.

All’s well that ends well.

However, it is important to note that this was an important teachable moment.

How we say things plays a bigger factor in how our comments are interpreted than what we say. Social media continues to connect people and gives us a platform for change, much like the NFL.

However, this exchange reminds us of the impact that our words and posts have on others.

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So, please pause and make sure that that impact is a positive one. Rise up.