The SEC already took their stance on this issue a few weeks ago by threatening to arrest players and fans that due this evil deed during games. The NBA has stood up and said that you are not allowed to even have a cell phone on the side of the court whether you are playing or not. Now the NFL has given way to their set of rules telling players they are not allowed to use social media, or even text messaging, during any team event. This means practice, before and after games on Sunday (and sometimes Saturday), or team meetings. The NFL is best known for their Tweeting during the draft last season having players and coaches Tweeting their selections right after they happened. You could find out who was selected and by what team before it was even announced on television.
A few weeks ago, I personally had the chance to use social media for someone else’s benefit. I was sitting on the couch watching Tiger Woods dual with Asian sensation YE Yang. I was Tweeting nearly every shot and managed to keep pretty good tabs on the round as Tiger made his way into the loser’s circle. Thinking nothing of it, the next Sunday I played a little golf of my own. I played with, ironically enough, a guy that I met on Twitter, Brandon Harris. Brandon stated that he, the previous Sunday, was stuck at an event and was unable to watch the golf tournament on television. However, he was able to read my tweets as I kept him abreast of the days happenings. He thanked me for being so thorough and said that he would not have had a clue about the round without my social media skills.
So when the NFL came out and said that they were not going to let players or coaches even use their cell phones during team events I threw my hands up in disgust and felt the need to tell you all about it here. First off, this is just an insane rule. Not just for the NFL, who are currently in the red thanks to a failing economy and lacking ticket sales (never mind the fact that the NFL is one of the most boring sports on television) but also who have been considering playing a number of games in Europe in hopes of branching their market to new eyes.
Twitter is all you hear anymore and if you are not on it, my only question is why. As a matter of fact, if you are not on it, leave this post immediately and head over to twitter.com and create your account now. You can even use the default picture and background if you must and search for me, on twitter.com/rickyleepotts and follow me. It’s as simple as that. As a matter of fact, there is a little something extra in it for you if you send me an @rickyleepotts tweet and mention this blog post.
So when the NFL decided to announce that they were not going to allow their players to use this technology did they not think that the media would pick it up and turn it into national news? Twitter does not need the NFL using it as an example to why you should or should not, or when you should and should not, use these tools, they have guys like Ashton and Oprah to do that. (Do you know that Oprah has over 2.3 million followers?)
The NFL comes back with an attitude of long standing traditions and the history of the sport not allowing technology to control how a player looks at his next play, but that is just a politically correct way of creating an excuse. They also claim that by allowing players the ability to text and tweet (that should be the name of a band) that players have a distinct advantage over their competition by being able to talk strategy and to share information on playbooks and hot routes. Again, this is an excuse and just a way for the NFL to not feel guilty about making an unruly decision.
I do want to thank the NFL, however, for making this rule apply to their players and not their fans. Unlike the SEC who is claiming they will literally arrest a fan for texting or tweeting during the game, the NFL is just offering fines and suspensions for their player’s behavior.
I look at this like teens and smoking. If you make it illegal kids are more prone to break the rules and bum a smoke every chance they get. But the day that it becomes legal they lose all interest and might never light a cigarette again. So if you make texting and tweeting “illegal” you can bet your bottom dollar that folks will only want to do it more. So without the implementation of a Twitter Task Force I hardly think you will see a decrease in tweets. I would venture to say that you will actually see an increase.
I tell you what; I might just buy a ticket (or barter for one) to the next home Colts game and tweet every single play that I witness. The only thing that will stop me is a dead battery.