The Football Educator has attempted to pass on as many meaningful and helpful tips as it can when it comes to dealing with Social Media in professional football. I’ve written my own interpretations of the topic and called upon public relations experts to give us theirs. But this enlightening piece by former NFL player LeCharles Bentley might be the best, most pure definition of the ramifications of Social Media on NFL players that I have yet to read.
What it should also do is give NFL fans a realization of the effects of some of their comments as they hide behind the keyboard. I’m not even insinuating that a large percentage of fans do this. But being heavily involved in Twitter myself, I’ve seen what can be shot out behind the mask of a catchy “twitter handle” and the anonymity of the forum. Just as players have to stand before you on game day and then afterwards before the media, if you have an opinion, judgment, or criticism of a player, coach, GM or any other person within the game . . . present it with class and backed up by something other than your own biased emotions.
I can tell you this. Professional football players, for all the advantages of being paid to play a kids GAME well into their early adulthood, don’t purposely go out and underperform with the inherent interest in “ruining your Monday”. Yes, I know how it works and I know it’s all part of the profession, but imagine if you will that someone walks into your own office or place of business (hidden behind a veil of secrecy) and calls you every %$&@! name in the book for whatever you dropped on your own playing field last week.
Keep it constructive. Many NFL players are YOUNG men. Just sayin’.
The Football Educator
Social Media’s Trap
Many coaches aren’t interested in the world of social media, outside of it’s potential negative impact on the image of the player or program. An even larger number of players are only seeking to position themselves as some sort of online pseudo celebrity, which is a complete facade and sad existence. Both of these camps are real and have their reasonings for existence, but there’s alarming reason why the world of social media should be positioned as a priority area of concern.
Social media in the same mold of injury, poor strength development, drugs and alcohol can play a significant role in hindering the development of your athletes. The instantaneous world of information and misinformation we live in has a direct impact on performance and needs to be monitored just as any other stressor in the lives of athletes.
I had an opportunity to scan the world of social media during the Jets versus Giants preseason game. Luckily, I was in a position to watch the game while keeping up with the live social media feeds such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Had I not been in position to watch the game with my eyes and form my own opinion on the performance of Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith, I would have believed he had the worst performance in the history of quarterbacking during the Super Bowl, not a preseason game. The high level of vitriol spewing from accredited media types along with the backup arm chair quarterback types made me not only uncomfortable but empathize with Geno Smith.