Two days after J.R. Smith of the NBA’s Knicks was fined $25,000 for tweeting a picture of a thong clad women (who happens to be Joe Budden’s ex) professional baseball has decided to announce a similar policy regarding social media. Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday a new social media policy that the organization has put in place for all players, coaches, managers, and any employee or independent contractor of the 30 Major League clubs and their Minor League affiliates. This new policy basically is a list of ten prohibitions which will now be enforced by the Commissioner, Mr. Bud Selig. They are as follows: (Courtesy of NBC Sports)
- Players can’t make what can be construed as official club or league statements without permission;
- Players can’t use copyrighted team logos and stuff without permission or tweet confidential or private information about teams or players, their families, etc.;
- Players can’t link to any MLB website or platform from social media without permission;
- No tweets condoning or appearing to condone the use of substances on the MLB banned drug list (which is everything but booze, right?);
- No ripping umpires or questioning their integrity;
- No racial, sexist, homophobic, anti-religious, etc. etc. content;
- No harassment or threats of violence;
- Nothing sexually explicit;
- Nothing otherwise illegal
While this list is not terribly restrictive and is mostly common sense, Major League Baseball has been forced to limit what the employees of the League make public to the world. MLB has a reputation to uphold and needs to represent itself as family entertainment and an upstanding professional organization. Having questionable material posted by athletes or anyone else affiliated with the league may tarnish that reputation. Also restricted by this policy is that players are not allowed to post to social media 30 minutes prior to a game, during a game, or until 10 minutes the game has concluded. This is similar to the new policy that the NFL has put in place, while less limiting in when tweets and posts may be made.
One of the most interesting impacts of this policy is that players and coaches are not allowed to question an umpire’s calls on social media and are being told to treat anything they post online to be the same as if they had said during a press conference or interview. This week in the National Basketball Association Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls had been fined $25,000 for ripping the referees in a press conference following a game against the New York Knicks, so expect similar fines and consequences for anything referring to umpires posted on Facebook or Twitter by anyone involved in professional baseball.
One of the players to watch as this season wears on is the Miami Marlins left fielder, Logan Morrison. Morrison is a self-proclaimed “Twittaholic”,who posting under the user name @LoMoMarlins has over 10,000 tweets since joining the social network before the 2010 MLB season. His Marlins teammate John Buck thinks Morrison has a “slight addiction” to the popular site, so it will definitely be interesting to see if he posts anything that violates this new policy and gets himself in hot water with Mr. Selig.
Major League Baseball is still encouraging everyone to be involved and engaging on social media so it will be fun to watch if or how this new policy influences fan’s view into the life of being a professional ballplayer and the news that we all get about our favorite teams.
In the meantime you can follow me on Twitter, @barrettweyneth.