Rather than considering the legal implications of the use of twitter and the recent revelation that Ryan Giggs was ‘outed’ on twitter, it made me consider instead whether footballers should be on twitter.
Enough has been said about Giggs, and no doubt it is a shame that a role model like he was actually hiding behind a string of laws to maintain his polished appearance. Whilst Giggs wasn’t on twitter, a number of his team mates are and they’re receiving varied reaction.
It must be a nightmare for managers, not only are they having to keep these twenty something millionaires squeaky clean but now they’re having to deal with social networking which is difficult to monitor and is allowing players to say what they want.
Rio Ferdinand, the pin up tweeter is probably the best example of a footballer using the platform to best and most productive effect. He is diplomatic and polite and whilst his heated discussions with Robbie Savage have become well known, they’re all in good jest. He refrains from criticising referees and does not use it to berate other players but instead encourages the likes of Jack Wilshire on his England debut.
Ronney on the other hand wasn’t so reserved recently when he told a fellow tweeter to come down to the training ground to ‘show him what he was made of’, not quite the interaction Ferguson would have advised. Wilshire and Babel have openly criticised referees, Wilshire calling them ‘inconsistent’ and Babel posting a photo of a referee in a Manchester United shirt.
Should footballers on twitter be banned? It has on the plus side brought fans closer to their idols, Ferdinand host a Q&A and Fabregas holds competitions via twitvid. But the likes of Bent ranting about a transfer just feeds the paper with new stories and gossip. Reporters must love Twitter, when for years they’ve been trying to access players, they’re now providing all the information they could dream of. On Kaka’s profile his mum posted news he was buying a property in London, fuelling rumours he was on the way to England- gold dust for papers.
Sure Twitter is a great source to connect with the people we watch every weekend, but it needs to be controlled. It’d be a shame if Ferguson removed Ferdinand but at the same time, the likes of Rooney need to be coached on what the effects of 140 characters can do. It seems this is the major failing, footballers don’t realise that people are listening and reading every comment. It’s as though they say what they want without any thought of consequence. It’s great having footballers on Twitter and it’d be a shame if we weren’t able to interact with them, but they need to implement some control and remember that as examples to young footballers, they need to be ‘tweety clean’ too.