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NBA Bans/Restricts Twitter Use

Twitter_fail_whaleThe National Basketball Association established new guidelines restricting the use of social media sites like Twitter by its players and banning the use of such sites during games.

The restrictions also prohibit players from using sites AND using cell phones or other mobile devices 45 minutes before games and until post-game media interviews are over.

Some critics argued that the restrictions prevented players from reaching out to their fans, and while I'm sure that it's extremely cool to get court-side updates ("Kobe totes farted during that last dunk LULZ. #lakers"), I have to say that I kind see their point. At least from one perspective. Using your cell phone and/or updating Twitter or Facebook during the game is just kind of...rude. And shouldn't they be paying the closest attention to the game at hand?

On the other hand, the NBA is obviously trying to control all media output surrounding games and whatnot and while that's kind of icky from a freedom of speech perspective, it could save a lot of unnecessary backpedaling and corrections.

The NFL imposed similar restrictions a few months ago, especially after Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian tweeted that quarterback Tarvaris Jackson would be out for the season with a knee ligament injury. Apparently, there was a bit of a panic and Berrian had to explain that he was "joking." (Er, how about "full of shit and/or totally out of the loop," dude?)

The NFL also wanted to closely guard plays and the like, which I think is totally reasonable. At the very least, these organizations are being explicit with their employees about what is acceptable, and aren't (forgive the term) dooce-ing them when they realize after the fact that they need to be aware of things like the internet and its communication powers and having people who represent their company use them.

Personally, I haven't totally embraced social media tools as a way to connect with famous people that I admire. I dislike the necessarily one-way nature of the communication that comes when you are one of millions of followers and I wasn't completely surprised to find that most celebrities, despite their interesting and gawk-worthy lives, are even more boring that my most boring joe-schmoe Twitter friend. I don't follow any athletes, despite being a die-hard Steelers, Penguins, and (sob) Pirates fan, so I'm not really mourning this loss in the communication world, but if you do, how do you feel about it?

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I don't find this particularly icky from a freedom of speech standpoint. All the employment contracts I've ever signed have contained a clause stating that the employer reserved the right to change the contract. The NBA is adding a gag clause to its employment contract. Players can comply with their contracts, or the NBA can choose to fire them. The Constitution doesn't protect your right to say something that's financially damaging to your employer without being fired.


Ok except for the part where THEY ARE PLAYED TO PLAY BASKETBALL not to Twitter about Kobe's flatulence from the side lines.

It's like any other job. You do your work. Your boss probably wouldn't want you Twittering/facebooking/myspacing/blogging/whatevering whilst your supposed to be doing YOUR JOB. (That's why MOST corporations have these sites blocked on company servers and the NBA can't block cell phones)

I don't see how this has ANYTHING to do with freedom of speech. They can still say whatever they want...just not 45 min before the game, not during the game and not until their media interviews are over.

Then...then they can tell us all about how those beans created some nice jet-propulsion for Kobe's slammin' dunk #lakers. BFD.

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