Blog and Ideas
June 13, 2012
By Jorge Chávez

Should Athletes be banned from Social Networks?

In an effort to avoid costly or embarrassing posts on social networks, many professional sports associations now have bans on social media.

Should Athletes be banned from Social Networks?

Spain, England and Denmark are three of the national teams competing in the Eurocopa 2012, but they are also the three teams whose football associations have denied the use of social networks to their players and coaches during the tournament.

Perhaps to avoid distractions, to maintain more control, avoid scandals and above all, avoid harassment by the already overwhelming press, these teams have instituted a social network ban.  And there are many examples of recklessness, impulsiveness or even ignorant tweets or Facebook status updates being very costly and very embarrassing mistakes to team players, management and owners.

But sport federations restricting social network use by players is not new. Since 2009, the NBA has banned the use of both Twitter and Facebook by players during games. And the NFL bans players from social networks before, during and after football matches.

To the contrary, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has found social networking to be extremely important in bringing athletes to the fans. In fact, last year they implemented a promotion to give economic incentives to athletes who have a greatest number of followers or who are creative in their tweets.

 The fighters are trained to understand the tools of social media and use those tools in their favor in and support of their brand.  And while there have been some awkward and embarrassing posts, the support of social media by the UFC has encouraged the network between athletes and their followers.

The vast majority of celebrities use social networks but it is something that should flow naturally and with the understanding of both its benefits and repercussions on their brand.

Jorge Chavez is a Senior Editor Mijo! Brands of Mexico.

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