Arroyo Proves Banning Twitter Makes No Sense

Sports news on Wednesday included the Ravens and Steelers publicly stating they have no policy on Twitter, hardly news if you ask me. News about who can tweet and what the penalty is and when they can tweet has quickly become nauseating. Partially because it’s not really news, but second because these policies are haphazardly put together. Banning Twitter is not going to prevent PR trouble, nor will it prevent an athlete from saying something, in fact preventing an athlete from using Twitter can exasperate the situation when athlete says something the team does not want him to say.

Case in point, yesterday Bronson Arroyo shows up in a front page USA Today story saying he uses supplements without checking if they are legal, and goes on to spit in the face of the MLB drug policy with his comments. This comes only days after his two former teammates were confirmed as PED users. Arroyo’s comments helped nobody – MLB, MLBPA, or the Reds. In essence, this is what teams and leagues fear about Twitter – an athlete putting out a stream of conscience before taking the time to think about the words.

Well, Arroyo didn’t need Twitter to do this. Arguably, he made a bad situation worse by putting it on the front of USA Today, published by a reputable reporter. On Twitter, you can argue situations don’t boil up to this point. With only 140 words, players don’t have the space to stick foot firmly in mouth as Arroyo did. Further, players can’t say they were joking, or have the opportunity to elaborate – essentially less recourse. Sometimes Tweets even get swept under the rug. Arroyo proved taking away Twitter does not prevent negative PR in sports, especially in today’s media world of 24/7 coverage where everyone can be a reporter of news.

A previous post elaborated on some of the rationale, but sports achieve nothing by banning Twitter. Arroyo proved that by doing what management fears without using Twitter. Sports properties need to embrace it, not ignore it, and educate on its use, not prevent it. Using Twitter as a reason to educate athletes may mask the fact that many were never trained properly to start.

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