Pro Athletes Produce Tweets That Cost More Than Just Their Reputation
Twitter has hit the professional sports world by storm. Athletes, coaches, teams, and owners create Twitter accounts in order to connect with their highly attentive fan base. Professional sports leagues have done everything in their power to separate the athletes and their Twitter accounts during game time. NFL and NBA have created strict rules that prohibit its players from jumping on their phone and tweeting during halftime or any part of their games. This all comes with fairly good cause because most professional athletes send out tweets that ruin their reputation. I came up with the idea to blog about athletes’ Twitter mistakes after reading Crushable’s article on celebrity gaffs on Twitter. This being a sports blog I figured I would translate this story into athletes rather than celebrties. Although, I could go on a rant of how idiotic Chris Brown makes himself look on Twitter.
Both the NFL and NBA have put strict rules on the players’ interaction with fans via Twitter during each player’s game time. The leagues promptly fine any athlete that tweets during the game or makes negative remarks on the league, coaches, refs, owners, etc. Their are countless times I have been watching ESPN SportsCenter and seen another athlete fined $50K for tweeting about a blown call or tweeting during halftime. I quickly did a quick google search and stumbled on SocialDistortion’s blog on the top-10 most controversial tweets from athletes. The list does a great job of giving background for each athlete and I’ll share a couple with you. Chad Ochocinco posted a tweet during a NFL preseason game and was slapped with a $25K fine by the league. Ochocinco later apologized to the league via Twitter. Another one of my least favorite sports star, Lebron James, had one of the dumbest tweets OF ALL TIME. Last year after leaving Cleveland and going to Miami via free agency, Lebron posted a tweet when the Cavs lost badly to the LA Lakers. “Crazy. Karma is a b****.. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!” @KingJames. James later responded saying it wasn’t directed at the Cavs but a saying he has kept true to his life for a long time. To top off the list the last tweet did not come from an athlete, rather infamous Dallas Mavrick’s owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Cuban tweeted about the refs poor decision not to call a technical foul on another player on an opposing team. The NBA acted quickly, slapping Cuban with a $25K fine the same day.
I believe that Twitter is the best way for athletes to connect with their fans and athletes should be able to connect with their fans during games. If I were the commissioner of either league I would allow athletes to tweet during pregame warmups, halftime and postgame activities. The leagues should still fine athletes and owners for tweets that critique the league or draw negative light to the athlete or the league. Maybe the NBA and NFL should look into hiring social media coordinators for each team to instruct the stars to become more conscious of their Twitter interactions.