How Social Media Has Played a Big Role in the Sports World
Impact of Social Media in the Sports World
Everybody nowadays has a twitter account. A lot of people use it just when they're bored, while for others it's a whole new outlook as to who they are. Athletes use twitter for many reasons, whether it's to promote their brand or communicate with fans. Athletes usually act calm and collected on social media to showcase their public persona.
Some athletes do use their twitter accounts as personal diaries, tweeting anything and everything that comes to mind. In my opinion, that is when twitter gets fun. Some athletes, when given criticism online, are not at all afraid to let the naysayers how they feel. Even some high profile people will chime in and they won't be afraid to voice how they feel about athletes performance on and off the field.
Athletes can also use twitter to gas up their on court or on field fights. With five minutes left in an NBA game between the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday March 2, Wolves player Jeff Teague issued a hard foul on Jazz player Ricky Rubio. The Utah players didn't appreciate the hard foul, so they went after Teague.
Timberwolves player Jimmy Butler, who is injured and unable to play and watching at home, tweeted his displeasure with the Jazz players reactions. Butler tweeted, "Jae get away from my coach. You don't want no smoke either." Jimmy was referring to Jazz player Jae Crowder getting very angry at the hard foul and yelling at anybody who would listen, including Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau. Crowder then responded with a tweet of his own:
Aside from all the controversy with an athletes social media, the majority of them use their social media for fun. Whether it's interacting with fans, the media, or other players, athletes use their twitter accounts just like any of us would. For a lot of athletes, twitter is also where they get most of their sports news.
Current Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller is a sad but funny example of athletes getting their news off Twitter. As a member of the Washington Redskins last year, Fuller had a pretty solid season. That's why he wasn't exactly expecting to be a part of the deal when the Redskins traded for quarterback Alex Smith. Fuller was very active on twitter that day, trying to figure out what was going on with trades just like the rest of the football world. When the trade went down, he didn't think he was a part of it, so he tweeted this:
Only to find out less than two hours later through twitter...
Athletes Talking Politics
August 26, 2016 was the first time that NFL quarterback and current free agent Colin Kaepernick was noticed to be not standing during the national anthem. He sat on the bench for the two weeks prior during the anthem but nobody noticed. When people noticed, a lot weren't happy. When asked why he was protesting, Kapernick said "I am not going to stand for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way." He felt no obligation to join in the celebration of a country that harms people like him. Then presidential candidate, now president Donald Trump, weighed in on twitter saying "Maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try. It won't happen."
Many athletes didn't take kindly to the criticisms of the president. Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron tweeted "Does anyone tell Trump to stick to politics like they tell us to stick to sports?" A lot of athletes nowadays don't take kindly to the president, going as far as teams declining invitations to visit the White House after winning a championship. Donald Trump tweeted saying the Golden State Warriors invitation to the White House was withdrawn, because star player Stephen Curry wasn't accepting the invite. Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James did not take kindly to that tweet:
It's pretty clear that social media is a very key piece in sports. It gives athletes a platform to voice whatever they'd like. It gives athletes somewhere to say what they want when they want without cameras in their face. As a sports fan, the most important part to me, is that it gives people like me a closer look at these athletes and what they do with their lives outside of competition. We can only hope that professional sports leagues don't start restricting social media use.