The NBA needs a Twitter code of conduct
Of the four major sports leagues in America, the National Basketball Association has the highest number of total idiots. At least it appears that way based on the players on Twitter. Baseball players and Hockey guys pretty well keep their big yaps shut (they mostly talk about bad country music) and NFL dudes, while they're not exactly Rhode Scholars most of them, manage to keep themselves largely in check on the social network. NBAers have no filter. They was raised widdout one.
They mack on hoes, DM for them fo’ dey digits, peel off dem "N words" like they dollah dollah bills yo' an bring dat thug life to da digital world. These million-dollar douchebags are stupid enough to think that they in da' club chillin' wit' they boys tho' when, in fact, they're on the world wide web, letting deez nutsz hang out for all da' world to see. But they representin' dey league, tho.
Stern's gotta get this under control. The Association has got public relations nightmare on its hands with these “ballers“. Freedom of speech is one thing. The freedom to share one's stream of consciousness is another - especially when culturally and emotionally underdeveloped man-children are allowed instantaneous and unfettered access to hundreds of thousands of fans, media types and snarky bloggers laying in the weeds just looking for an angle.
JR Smith, Dwight Howard, Metta World Dumbass and their sort threaten to bring the bad boy image of the NBA back. It’s no longer their instability on the court or their performances in the mainstream media that should worry the Commissioner - it’s the damage they can do in the shadows of the night and on the internet. And it’s not just the clubbers, the womanizers, the drunks, the pot smokers and the wannabe rappers that pose a danger. The complainers, the whiners, the “coach don‘t respeck me” guys are just as acidic, as Wilson Chandler demonstrated just last week.
I’m not suggesting that there aren’t basketball players who do a fine job with social media. There are many. Arron Afflalo comes to mind. Kobe Bryant, who joined Twitter within the past couple of weeks, has acted responsibly. Danilo Gallinari is a gem. Pau Gasol is, too. There’s an undeniable presence, though, of undisciplined, under-educated young African Americans who reinforce horrible stereotypes and generally just don’t get it on Twitter.
The NBA Player’s Association would doubtlessly resists any movement on the part of the league to try reigning in the outlaws and the malcontents. Those players should be treated no differently in the eyes of the union than the brighter, more responsible ones. Most fans would doubtlessly prefer to preserve the status quo as well. What’s more entertaining than seeing a millionaire keep it real?
Twitter and other social media networks present a new reality for nearly every industry. The way these are properly used is an undefeatable thing. It’s a moving target. There’s little question, though, that for professional sports it’s a marketing Valhalla. Consumer interests are narrowed, honed in on and targeted in ways never before imagined. The right people are there before you, ready to receive your message and to frequent your sponsors.
The message simply can’t be polluted. The NBA needs to send this credo to its players and ask for their cooperation in cleaning up the league’s wilting image in social circles. Some players are out of control and a vast reporting network is in place to insure that no misstep is overlooked. This site is only a very tiny part of that. The next cock shot, the next ill-advised hook-up, the next midnight trade demand is looming. If it’s not Tweeted tonight it will be tomorrow. The Blogosphere will be there to make sure it’s not overlooked.
The NBA needs to institute a social media code of conduct. The union should comply, too. It’s in everyone’s best interest to prevent millions of dollars in carefully crafted PR spin to be lost to in a bong water haze of selfish irresponsibility.