Should footballers be allowed to use social networking sites?

By Mollie Bennett

When you think about football, you think of passion, pride and commitment; you think of proudly wearing your team’s jersey on match day.

You don’t think of following your football hero on twitter, well at least you never used to.

Rewind ten years and social networking wasn’t an issue, in fact most people wouldn’t have a clue what it was, they would talk to each other face to face or by telephone. Today it’s broadcast online for the world to see.

Footballers run the risk on a daily basis when using social networking sights, take Rio Ferdinand for example, calling his fellow England international a “choc ice” for all of his 3.4m followers to see and receiving a mere £45,000 fine for his troubles.

Ferdinand branded his Premier League rival a “choc ice” after Cole gave evidence on behalf of Terry in a racist trail involving Rio’s younger brother Anton (Ferdinand).

Charlotte Bennett, a member of Southern Women’s Premier League side Lewes, believes that footballers should remember they are role models, when using social networking sites.

She said: “I think footballers should be allowed to use it but for the right things, for example communicating with fans or for match advertisement. I don’t agree with it being used to voice frustrations against other professionals, if people feel that strongly, they should say it to their face. All footballers need to remember they are role models, on and off the pitch and they represent their clubs.”

As technology is ever-growing, so is the number of troublesome tweets. The FA have recently announced a new social networking policy which includes separate sections for when players are on England duty or with their clubs.

The new code of conduct, due to come into force in November 2012, states that England players will not be permitted to use social media sites, 24 hours prior to any international game.

The full details of the conduct are not being made public, although it is said to include the recommendation that all England internationals should consult the FA before posting a tweet, however, doesn’t that defeat the object of tweeting in the first place?

Surely footballers understand that when tweeting on social networking sites, the whole world can see what their saying and just because they choose to tweet instead of talk, it doesn’t make it acceptable to call your employer a ‘bunch of t***s’.

The life of a footballer is undoubtedly surreal but surely not so bizarre that they can label their employers ‘t***s’ and carry on like nothing’s happened.

For every day people, social networks are a way of broadcasting their personality and meeting new people and this could be the case for footballers as well, if they understood the difference between what is acceptable and what is not.

Nobody is denying that twitter is a way for footballers to connect with their fans, but certain footballers feel it’s acceptable to publish personal opinions on a worldwide platform and that is where the problem lies.

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One thought on “Should footballers be allowed to use social networking sites?

  1. Reblogged this on jjbollox and commented:
    Should footballers be allowed to Twitter? Accepting that social network site communication, like texting has risen to a popularity that endangers real conversation. (Proof if needed being in this posting, my writing and the ever increasing amount of time that I – and others from all walks of life – spend on the Internet.) The question asked is tantamount to restricting freedom of speech to question wether anybody should be allowed. This is close to restricting internet access. Wait, China. There are 13 countries with restrictions and corporations attempting this right now in the Western World that will have GLOBAL effect on ALL of us. Search TPP or use this link.
    All of which makes the question trivial. But it isn’t. Footballers rights will probably get more reaction than infringement on your own rights? If you react to my use of ‘you’, then ‘you’ know it! Still this article seems somewhat incomplete. The main point being made is that footballers as all media stars have a responsibility to act more than responsibly as role models for the young and easily influenced. And icons of escapism with a seemingly paradoxical sense of belonging for the ‘you’?
    When anybody dons that shirt of a team they are representing that team and society itself. Does society expect bad behaviour? Do we really want to condone it as doing so only encourages it and similar in those who emulate their heroes? When anybody signs that contract to receive a farcical ridiculous amount of money, they ‘know’ what else is involved. Shouldn’t exemplary sporting behaviour be a requisite signed for in triplicate and upheld by fines from the FA?
    Media itself is our mogul it sadly seems. Should we not expect the highest levels of public interest from those making a fortune from public interest?
    What do you think?

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