A few weeks ago, we blogged that college coaches are increasingly checking social media when recruiting high school athletes, and some are dropping recruits if they see offensive posts. Another recent article in the New Bern Sun Journal reports that “some athletes often tweet about sex, drugs, alcohol and worse.” And coaches are watching.
While we talked about high school athletes in our earlier blog, this goes beyond high school. College and professional players are also being scrutinized. Case in point, East Carolina University officials monitor their athletes’ Twitter accounts daily, and intervene when necessary. It is not the only school to do this. Coaches around the country have been known to temporarily ban their players from being on social media for any number of reasons.
Why are athletes so scrutinized? Much of it has to do with their large fan following. Tweeting or posting offensive information can result in serious consequences. The article shares the tale of former Mississippi State basketball player D.J. Gardner who sent an offensive tweet about the program. “Not too long after that tweet, Gardner wasn’t there anymore, as MSU kicked him out of school.”
Taking this a step further, with the number of things that go viral anymore, it’s not a stretch to say that only athletes should be concerned about their social media presence. All of us – students, student athletes, working professionals, should keep in mind that when something is tweeted or posted online, it is there for the world to see. At some point, information you share that others find offensive could result in an unfavorable outcome.