What’s all this nonsense about professional athletes getting into trouble over what they say on Twitter (or whatever other site)? The NFL, which, as we all know, stands for the No Fun League, freaked out after Robert Henson, of the Washington Redskins, tweeted a few choice words to critical fans last week. Things like “All you fake half hearted Skins fan can .. I won’t go there but I dislike you very strongly, don’t come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!!” and “The question is who are you to say you know what’s best for the team and you work 9 to 5 at Mcdonalds.” I say good for Mr. Henson. Fans can get away with murder, but the man cannot speak his mind? Lame.
Now it’s the NBA’s turn. The league is expected to announce its policy on “social media” sites like Twitter and Facebook. It’s expected that players won’t be allowed to Tweet from inside the locker room, or from within a few minutes prior to a game’s start, or from within a few minutes of the game’s conclusion. Part of the reason is to placate the ESPNs of the world—why should fans tune into ESPN to see a post-game interview when they can get INSTANT REACTIONS from Twitter, especially when a player only speaks in platitudes on TV like “We have a good team here” or “We’re just gonna have to work harder that’s all.”?
The restrictions won’t be as strict as the NFL’s, but the fact that they’re there at all is 100 percent lame. (Never mind that the league has already fined Marc Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and person whom I have met once at SXSW, over Twitter comments; I totally marked out when I met him.) Fans can hurl abuse at players from the safety of the stands, but a player can’t say “please shut up, fans”? And yes, I understand that fans “pay good money” to attend the games, but does that give them the right to hurl abuse at the players? How about some civility. Golf and tennis doesn’t tolerate people shouting nonsense at the players!
I also understand that players are merely employees, so if management says “you will not Twitter during the game” then there’s not argument: if you want to stay on the team you had better not Twitter. That, or feel free to Twitter to your heart’s content, but not as a member of TEAM.
So there’s at least two sides to the argument. Feel free to disagree, but it’s really not that important anyway.