Footballers Who Have Got in Hot Water on Twitter
Twitter and other social networks that have grown prominent over recent years have grown to have a big impact not only on sports but the world in general. Designed as a way to stay connected and share information as fast as the speed of light, the idea of ‘following’ your favourite sports star on Twitter is a very appealing one. Yes, I do want to know what goes on in the life of the UK’s top Footballers, and must admit that I’m not entirely bored when they tell me what they have for breakfast, either.
October 2012 has seen another high profile example of a player making a huge cock-up on a social network. Twitter was the platform, and the culprit was England’s most capped Left Back, Ashley Cole.
Cole is hardly a national treasure, and has something of a bad reputation in the media, but, until now at least, a reasonably good reputation in the game we love. This reputation however is now in tatters after a Tweet about the ongoing John Terry “racism” accusations and saga, with Cole tweeting expletives and a sarcastic message that would not look out of place in an angst ridden teenager’s feed. For Cole to criticise the Football Association that has given him 98 caps for his country is nothing short of disrespectful, and will surely see another disciplinary hearing piled onto Chelsea. They need that like a hole in the head.
The Chelsea and (maybe) England left back isn’t the only example of a high profile tweet causing this kind of trouble though…
- In 2008, Ryan Babel criticised referee Howard Webb on his Twitter account with around 300,000 followers.
- Former West Ham Defender Danny Gabbidon knows how to make friends: “U know what, f*** the lot of you, u will never get another tweet from me again, you just don’t get it do you. Bye bye.” He was fined and subsequently deleted his account.
- Bradley Orr, Paddy Kenny and Clint Hill – the QPR trio came out in defence of team mate Jamie Mackie when he suffered a broken leg, and was reportedly abused by the unpopular El Hadji Diouf. Use of expletives and some threatening language was not enough to see them disciplined, which caused some controversy.
- Luis Enrique – Enrique publicly criticised Newcastle’s transfer policy on Twitter, explaining that they would never be a top 6 club if they continue to sell their best players.
- In one of the highest profile Twitter outbursts, Wayne Rooney threatened to put a Liverpool Fan “to sleep” in 10 seconds over abusive tweets he was receiving.
- Joey Barton…he could have his own article here, I wont go into specifics but suffice to say he tweets…a lot…oh and erm…he’s Joey Barton.
So why do we see this kind of thing over and over again on Twitter in spite of many club policies and the disciplinary action the players know they can be on the receiving end of? Well, Twitter is a strange way of communicating, and these players see tweets sent to them by thousands of followers, whether they’re fans or rivals of the player or player’s club. This is bound to get you wound up at times and to an extent I can understand a “lashing out” in response, though players should be more professional.
The problem is that the instantaneous nature of Twitter means that before having a chance to cool off, players can tweet their feelings straight away, and don’t leave themselves time to cool off. Unfortunately, we see an increasing amount of these instances, and surely the FA are beginning to wonder what they can do to tackle the Social Media revolution.