Twitter Use in Professional Sports

Posted: February 27, 2011 by Josh Tannenbaum in Uncategorized

Twitter is a social media outlet that has revolutionized the way athletes and members of the sports media converse with the general public. In its most beneficial use, it is a fast and easy way to receive news and also connect with superstars that would normally be out of touch. But despite this new and interesting advantage, there are downsides to Twitter in the sports world as well.

Firstly, Twitter allows a more personal look into an athletes life. That comes with both good and bad. Good because it’s just cool to hear directly from the players. Bad because many times emotions can get the better of the user. We’ve all heard the “my account got hacked” excuse on numerous occasions. No one’s account got hacked. Professional sports is a business, and one that has a lot of money at stake. So naturally, there will be feelings hurt from time to time when certain decisions are made. With the way many athletes use Twitter today (multiple  tweets per day), these internal conflicts tend to leak out.

Athletes seem to love Twitter and the capabilities it provides for them. Front office members seem to take the opposite position. The players have a lot less to lose from the way they use Twitter, whereas owners, general managers, etc. have very little control over what is said by their players. Restrictions have been implemented, but there is only so much that can be done. Last year, Brandon Jennings tweeted “Back to 500. Yess!!! ‘500’ means where doing good. Way to Play Hard Guys,” after a big, double-overtime victory. He was fined $7,500 for violating an NBA rule stating that players are not allowed to tweet until every player has finished speaking with the media. The rule is meant to preserve the role that the media plays in professional sports, but in this case, the ruling was taken a tad too seriously. If anything, that tweet showed passion and excitement from a young, budding star in the league. Isn’t that a good thing for the NBA? Ok, maybe Jennings shouldn’t be tweeting in the locker room, but is a matter of ten minutes really worth a $7,500 fine?

Either way, it is undeniable that Twitter has changed the way the average sports fan gets their news. Whether it be from a player or a journalist, Twitter has sped up the process of receiving information. It has created a more personal connection between the public and these previously seemingly-unreachable players. All in all, despite some questions as to when and what an athlete should and shouldn’t be tweeting, the benefits of Twitter clearly outweigh the negatives.


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