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A few weeks back, pundits noted that Twitter had its moment. The 140-character service was on fire with tweets mentioning the death of Osama Bin Laden at a rate that traditional news outlets couldn’t keep up. Once the story was confirmed by President Obama, Twitterville was generally filled with messages of happiness, relief and closure from all across the country.
Then there was Rashard Mendenhall, who had a slew of Tweets that you could consider offensive and/or ignorant including this gem:
“@dkeller23 We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style”
Following the Tweet, the running back had both teammates and the Steelers organization trying to distance themselves from him. The coldness has had a local columnist to suggest that the team should install a no social media policy for the team’s players.
While the team hasn’t commented, even considering such a policy would be a mistake, much like the folks at UNC making coaches monitor the SM accounts of their players. Aside from the joke notion of having to censoring grown men, installing the plan or something similar will help further isolate a fan base during the league lockout.
Sure what Mendenhall said was stupid, but why not use it as a teaching experience? The league currently has guidelines for off-field personal conduct and all players go through media training so why not look to expand the training to personal conduct in the social space?
Unlike many companies who have nobodies like me tweeting and facebooking it up, the teams and league have people that could actually increase interest and fan connection with the league as a whole.
They also have a player who could teach his peers on how to build up this bond without being offensive or deterring from the overall appeal of the NFL brand while also growing their own personal brand – Chad Ochocinco.
Do you think that the training would increase your connection with the NFL or would you rather see these guys get away from their keyboards?