You would think that your Facebook and Twitter accounts are your personal spaces and you should be able to say whatever you’d like to, wouldn’t you? After all, why would anyone care or think twice about your babbling tweets or your mundane status updates? Well apparently sports athletes don’t have the freedom to say whatever they want to on their personal accounts. As a matter-of-fact, it can get them suspended from playing.
The college football team, the Indiana Hoosiers, take the players tweets and status updates very seriously, and since one of their players has been suspended, the other players may think twice before chatting on the social site.
That’s all he was doing, right? Chatting?
No, it seems that the player was doing a little social networking therapy online and using his accounts to make his displeasure known. Andre Kates tweeted several negative comments on his Twitter account (now locked) that was directed at the coaching staff at Indiana, and more specifically towards Bill Lynch, the head coach.
The suspension comes as a warning to players that they cannot say whatever they want to on a publicly-accessed forum without suffering the repercussions. There are many outside factors that the school has to consider when there are tweets and status updates made about the athletic program:
- The media and their version of the story as it goes to print
- The fans and how they perceive the team, and the overall moral affect
- The negative light that it casts on the school and potential future students and athletes
Although there are other schools who have banned their players from using social media (Miami, Boise State, Texas Tech) during the season, Indiana is the first school that has suspended a player for exercising his rights to the freedom to tweet.
However, a point to consider is since the player represents the school, does he really have those rights?