Following the NFL’s “media-friendly” Twitter policy announcement, the NBA’s commissioner, David Stern, told Yahoo! Sports yesterday that the NBA will soon be issuing Twitter and social media guidelines of their own, which will be modeled after the NFL’s. Stern told Yahoo! Sports:
“Obviously, there is a happy medium between tweeting before the game and tweeting from our bench during the game. You want to make sure that pop culture doesn’t intrude on what brought us here, which is the game, and that we show the right respect for the game.”
“We just need to make sure when it’s OK to Tweet and when it’s not OK to Tweet so it at least focuses around the game. It would look unusual for a guy sitting on the bench to pick up his cell phone, and I think we can agree that he probably shouldn’t be writing e-mails. It’s not about Twitter, it’s about the line of communication. That’s what we’re focusing on.”
Last season, RaceTalk was one of the first to reporter that former Milwaukee Bucks player Charlie Villanueva was using Twitter during halftime of his game against the Celtics. This did not go over well with his coach, and many teams began making their own Twitter policies following that news.
The NBA has some of the most active and interactive athletes on Twitter, such as Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen. However, other NBA players have pulled some embarrassing social media stunts this off-season, such as former Boston Celtic Stephon Marbury, who filmed a live 24-hour webcast of himself during which he consumed Vaseline for a sore throat and admitted to smoking marijuana. Miami Heat player Michael Beasley also brought some of his problems public when he posted a picture with what appeared to be marijuana in the background and wrote “Feelin like it’s not worth livin!!!!!!! I’m done.” It was learned that Beasley was admitted to rehab soon after this incident.
As I mentioned, if the NBA did not plan on instituting social media and Twitter guidelines, every NBA team would likely have made their own policies anyway. However, if players were able to provide fans with a quick comment about the game during halftime, it would still takes less time then an ESPN sideline interview.