The NBA are Cracking Down on Twitter Smack Talk

Toronto Star
There's no denying it, athletes are great fun to follow on Twitter, especially in team sports like football and basketball. During the season, they dig at each other relentlessly, either in the wake of an upcoming clash or just for the fun of it. Sometimes it escalates, venturing into more sinister territory, but most of the time it's just amusing banter, another layer to the dramatic tension of competitive sport.

The NBA, it would seem, don't agree. Last Thursday they released a new social media code of conduct which is reportedly much more strict. The "mocking and/or ridiculing" of other players and teams is no longer allowed. If that seems like a pretty wide net to cast, there is a kind of list of what the NBA thinks counts as mocking and/or ridicule:

"Disparage, belittle or embarrass an individual opponent or game official; · Mimic or impersonate an opponent or game official in a negative manner; or · Criticize officiating or the NBA officiating program."

There's still a fair amount of room for interpretation in that, but the NBA are likely trying to avoid any mean-spirited 'Twitter wars', which occurred somewhat more than usual this season. While this might cut down on some of the humorous banter between teams, it certainly doesn't plug it altogether, they'll just have to be more creative.

Sports associations have historically had a difficult relationship with social media conduct, but on balance, the NBA are actually handling it pretty well. The NFL remain the worst offenders when it comes to harsh social media regulations, while the NHL still put players into a two-hour social media blackout before they step onto the ice. Both leagues could learn a thing or two from the NBA.

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