To gag or not to gag: athletes on Twitter

In my last entry I refered to social media numbers possibly being part of signing-on contracts for sport stars in the near future.  This likely eventuality brings the possibility of clubs/teams wanting more of a stake in what the athlete outputs in the bloggersphere.  We have already seen a few high-profile athletes getting more than a slap on the wrist for both the content and timing of their tweets.  American footballer, Antonio Cromartie was fined 2500 US dollars for slagging-off the standard of the cuisine at his team’s training camp. And there was Larry Johnson who was even sacked for his comments about his coach and a fan (which I have to say was probably justified).

Former NBA superstar Jalen Rose reckons”Teams and management will increase content restrictions for athletes. Teams and management will be vigilant at making sure that information is not released without consent. “Big Brother” will be watching very carefully to determine what is permissible and what is not. Personal views and comments will be taken seriously if it jeopardises the integrity of a team or sponsor.”

With this in mind, my concern is that sport stars will not only asked to act as ambassadors for their club/team, but will become robotic and unnatural in their communication with fans via social media, which for me defeats the whole point of the excercise in the first place.  Moreover, it seems sport stars employer’s will want to use the social media outlets of their investments to plug their own interests and at the same time ensuring that the club/team is not seen in a bad light.  What do you reckon?





Filed under Darren Bent, General

2 responses to “To gag or not to gag: athletes on Twitter

  1. Bea

    Although we certainly want our favorite celebrities to personally represent themselves to us via the media, social or otherwise, the fact is that have always been represented by their publicists in media. I don’t think the open rules of social media apply to brands like Beckham and Wood, who can lose millions if they (or their wives!) do an end-run around their gatekeepers!

    • Thanks for the response.

      I also think especially in other types of media, such as TV, Radio and print interviews, athletes will be briefed with certain gambits to say and angles to take from PR people. The thing with those media portals is that they’re all very one dimensional. With social media 2.0 technologies however, such as Twitter and Facebook, sports stars, no matter how famous, have the means to make these platforms as personal as possible to make us feel included so that we want to interact in two-way conversations with them. Yes, some controls/advice should come from communication officers at their clubs and personal managers on ‘no go’ areas, but the least the athlete could do is contribute and monitor his or her social media content regulary.

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