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RandBall: When will athletes be banned from using Twitter?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • August 20, 2012 - 9:26 AM

 

From what we can tell, various professional sports teams treat the powers -- both good and bad -- of social media quite differently. Some have fully bought into it and use it as an active form of engagement. Others are late the the party or ignoring the party, and when they try to get up to speed the results aren't always pretty.

 

When it comes to the athletes that play on their teams, some teams attempt to have more control than others. But usually the underlying message of any policy is: use common sense when posting something on Twitter, Facebook, etc., and don't do something that would embarrass the organization and/or yourself.

But with Twitter so widespread, instant and -- thanks to photo and video sharing, delightfully dangerous -- we have to wonder when teams will start attempting to gain more control. We can think of a few local athletes who at least straddle the line -- often in good ways in terms of entertainment, but still in ways that PR departments must cringe at upon seeing.

Nationally, we have yet another example of something that just ... really ... shouldn't have been posted. Giants punter Steve Weatherford put up a video of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul lugging cornerback Prince Amukamara through a hallway and dumping him into a cold tub. It's fairly mild hazing by hazing standards, but the act -- combined with the f-bomb and n-bomb dropped toward the end of the video -- obviously should have given Weatherford pause.

Of course, this is how locker rooms work; pro teams have gone to great lengths for decades to keep the public from seeing exactly how locker rooms work, presumably because the truth will certainly offend those with delicate sensibilities and make parents not want to buy jerseys for their kids.

We would have to guess we aren't far off from widespread social media policies -- either team-by-team or league-wide -- with plenty more teeth than the ones that exist now. We're already seeing it more at the college level, where admittedly such things are easier to enforce; the Bengals went with a limited ban during training camp, which we're guessing is just the beginning. We're not saying this will be a good thing. We always love a good peek behind the curtain, but we also know teams will draw them shut when there is a lot to see.

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