You’ve got to be Twitting me

NFL, NBA and college athletes Tweet at the own risk these days.

NFL, NBA and college athletes Tweet at the own risk these days.

As an interactive media graduate student at Elon University, I am working on a research project for my Theory and Audience Analysis class. An avid sports fan, I chose to delve into how sports and new media will be able to coexist in the future.

To my excitement, and as if a golden egg was laid in my lap, news about athletes using Twitter has blown up the airwaves and interwebs ever since choosing the topic.

In the past week alone there have been multiple of stories about the burgeoning technology… and its misuse.

First, Texas Tech football players were banned from having Twitter pages after a few players let their feelings be known via the micro-blogosphere after a difficult loss.

Sunday morning, linebacker Marlon Williams asked on his Twitter account why he was still in a meeting room when “the head coach can’t even be on time.” (The coach was about 45 minutes late)

On top of that, offensive lineman Brandon Carter, after the loss, tweeted: “This is not how I saw our season.”

On Sunday, Carter was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules and his Twitter page was deleted.

Well, you might say, “those are just young student athletes who don’t know any better. Pros definitely will be more judicial with their tweets.”

You’d be wrong.

An NFL player decided to put in his own foot in his mouth via Twitter after his team’s victory on Sunday. Jets wide receiver David Clowney went straight to Twitter after spending most of the Patriots game on the bench, tweeting just half an hour after the final whistle that he was “disappointed about my playing time.” His coach, Rex Ryan wasn’t amused and proceeded to bench the him for next week.

The NFL has rules in place against Twittering just before or during games. Not wanting to seem out of touch with technology, on Wednesday the NBA formally announced its new social media guidelines.

It states the use of cell phones, PDAs and other electronic communications devices — and thus accessing Twitter, Facebook and similar social media sites — is now prohibited during games for players, coaches and other team personnel involved in the game.

During games means 45 minutes before the opening tip and ending “after the postgame locker room is open to the media and coaches and players have first fulfilled their obligation to be available to media attending the game.”

On top of that, NBA teams such as the Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers already announced stricter bans this week on social networking than the league’s rules, essentially forbidding it on anything regarded as “team time.”

The NBA’s guidelines, relating to team personnel, are only enforceable to coaches and other basketball employees involved in an actual game. Front-office employees, including owners (C’mon Mark Cuban, keep those tweets coming) on the other hand, are not prohibited from posting messages during games.

We are merely at the tip of the iceberg of social media bleeding into sports. My mouth is watering as I look ahead to the next few months, with more and more players becoming more and more connected.

Who will say something stupid?

Who will get their coach fired?

Who will get themselves fired?

The possibles are endless and I can’t wait.



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