KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — Associate AD for Communications at the University of Tennessee Tom Satkowiac in a Thursday Tweet called on #VolTwitter to mute an account whose owner he called "a coward who posts nothing but false nonsense."
"#VolTwitter, I encourage all of you to mute @RGW_News," said the Tweet. "It's run by a coward who posts nothing but false nonsense. And those false posts are cruel and hurtful to those mentioned in them. So if you support our man @urosp34, please take a second and mute @RGW_News right now!"
#VolTwitter, I encourage all of you to mute @RGW_News— Tom Satkowiak (@TomSatkowiak) December 26, 2019
It’s run by a coward who posts nothing but false nonsense. And those false posts are cruel and hurtful to those mentioned in them.
So if you support our man @urosp34, please take a second and mute @RGW_News right now!
The Tweet came the morning after Richard G. West posted a Tweet saying Uroš Plavšić had been cleared to play for the Vols by the NCAA.
"Tennessee Basketball has just received a Christmas miracle! The NCAA has cleared Uros Plavsic to play immediately with the team," said West.
No such news had been released by any officials at the time of the Tweet.
Tennessee Basketball has just received a Christmas miracle!— Richard G. West (@RGW_News) December 26, 2019
The NCAA has cleared Uros Plavsic to play immediately with the team.
West insinuated in a tweet that his account was a parody. "Due to recent events the University of Tennessee has established Safe Zones (circled in red) throughout the campus. If you feel threatened by online parody accounts please seek help in one of these buildings."
The tweet has since been deleted.
WVLT News reached out to Satkowiak about his decision to put West on blast.
"I’m always going to support our student-athletes. And when a so-called 'parody' account that is not labeled as such uses misinformation to create angst for a student-athlete who has done nothing wrong, I believe that crosses a line," said Satkowiak.
West has made the news before after he posted a doctored image that appeared to show a UT Football equipment truck engulfed in flames on the way to Bryant-Denny Stadium in October.
West's bio on Twitter does not specifically say the account is meant to be seen as a parody.
"#1 Breaking News Reporter in South Knoxville and Vice President of the Southeastern Sports Foundation," West says on Twitter.
A Google search shows the photo used in the account's profile picture was likely taken from a site called Male Model Search.
A link in West's bio shows that his apparent website, rgwnews1.com is no longer active.
Plavšić has been waiting for months for an opportunity to play for the Vols. UT Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer released a statement in November saying it's unlikely he'll make it onto the court anytime soon.
"Uroš Plavšić was denied clearance to compete with our men's basketball program this season, and our appeal of that decision also was denied. We are extremely disappointed – quite frankly, stunned – in this outcome, and feel strongly that very compelling facts support clearance for immediate eligibility," Fulmer said.
"We are at a loss as to how this decision aligns with a mission of prioritizing the well-being of student-athletes, and we are struggling to provide an explanation to a deserving young man who stands to lose a year of eligibility. We will stand by Uroš and support him in every way possible as we exhaust all options in advocating for his competitive opportunity."
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