James Tennant
James Tennant
Social Media Exec
24.09.14

The Tweeting Troubles of Sporting’s Elite

Social media and sport. Two of my burning passions and indisputable pleasures.

Within the realm of social media, Twitter breeds advantageous interaction, enlightened insight and unique expression. When it is used correctly in a personal or professional capacity – such as here at Ponderosa Group – it will aid, not hamper. Since its introduction in 2006, Twitter has revitalised and enriched the face of our industry. It’s potent in its individuality, and almost universally utilised.

However, as I delve further into my passions intertwining, it’s clear Twitter’s sums don’t always equal a constructive formula. There are countless instances where the tweeting troubles of sporting stars have been well-documented, and these examples, and lessons learnt, can be translated into a professional workplace.

Here are a few examples of how sportspeople and Twitter don’t always harmoniously co-exist.

Infamous Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli is no stranger to controversy, on and off the field of play, and as Liverpool’s fierce rivals Manchester United recently plummeted to a staggering 5-3 defeat to Leicester City, Balotelli couldn’t resist mentioning Manchester’s mishap.

Balotelli posted a three-word, 15-character tweet from his verified account to 3.2 million followers:

268 minutes later Merseyside Police released a statement via Twitter declaring they were investigating ‘offensive comments’ directed towards Balotelli:

Dumbfounding. One short tweet and Balotelli suffered racism of disturbing proportion with graphic remarks directed towards him at the hands of fellow Twitter users.

Onto rugby union, and another ill-fated illustration of the potential hazards and susceptibilities interconnected with tweeting. New Zealand’s Aaron Cruden was suspended by the All Blacks for two games this past weekend after a late-night, drinking session on the Saturday evening caused him to miss an official flight to Argentina the following morning.

aaron cruden photo

Photos began to emerge of Cruden on Twitter from that infamous evening. Whilst the images of him circulated on social media, therefore placing him in the public spotlight, didn’t directly cause him to miss his flight, they were certainly a contributing factor to him losing his place in the squad.

These are two recent examples, but heck, take your pick – there are numerous additional instances of sportspeople falling foul on Twitter:

  • Snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan was ordered to pay £8,000 back in January after tweeting about match-fixing and pills.
  • Boxer Tyson Fury was fined £3,000 last year for distasteful tweets directed towards fellow British boxers David Price and Tony Bellew.
  • Footballer Rio Ferdinand was fined £45,000 back in 2012 for endorsing a tweet calling fellow footballer Ashley Cole a ‘choc-ice’.
  • England cricketer Kevin Pietersen was fined in the same year for questioning commentator Nick Knight’s capabilities on Twitter.

The list goes on, you get the drift.

The solution is simple. Choose your words carefully, whatever account you run. Every time you tweet, you are liable for the comments you choose to publish.

Know the boundaries. Know the guidelines. Know your brand. We do, here at Ponderosa Group.

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