More Athletes (Namely Ryan Babel) Show Us Exactly How Not To Use Twitter

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Another day, another irresponsible use of social networks getting people in trouble. There’s actually two things here. Number one concerns Ryan Babel, who plays for Liverpool in England. Liverpool played Manchester United, their eternal rivals, yesterday, and the presiding referee, Howard Webb, awarded United a penalty. Questions were raised along the lines of, “Was that really a penalty?” Apparently Babel didn’t think so, and tweeted a picture of Webb in a United shirt.

You may think, meh, that’s a harmless prank. Oh, no, for now Babel has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association, the English game’s governing body.

Babel must have known that tweeting this photo wasn’t exactly in his best interest, as he removed the offending tweet and then followed that up by saying: “Sorry Howard Webb. My apology if they take my posted pic seriously. This is just an emotional reaction after losing an important game.”

Dear everyone: please do not tweet stupid stuff. There’s simply no need for it, and even if you’re tweeting a valid point, Twitter doesn’t exactly lend itself to nuance.

As Lance Storm once said on an edition of Figure Four Daily, you need to kayfabe your social networks. Don’t say stupid stuff on them, and you’ll be much better for it. Save Twitter for things like, “the jets will beat the patriots, count on it!” and not your thoughts on this-or-that controversial subject.

Just north of England lies Scotland, where soccer authorities there have also to mind their manners on social networks, pleading with players or other club [read: soccer team] officials from using Twitter and the like to criticize referees. (Scotland’s referees have come under immense criticism this year, so much so that they went on strike a few months ago in protest.)

Here’s an idea: if you think you’re about to say something on Twitter that could get you in hot water, don’t! Everybody wins!

This isn’t so much a condemnation of Twitter or any other social network as it is a warning to keep your wits about you as you tweet silly things. Don’t say something that might come back to haunt you, is all.

Just because it’s on Twitter doesn’t mean people won’t take it seriously.

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