The NBA has been at the forefront in American professional sports when it comes to social media promotion and it is one of the things that make the league increasingly popular among young people. While there have been a few examples of social media usage run amok, including an employee of the Houston Rockets being fired in 2015 after an insensitive tweet went viral, the league’s 30 teams are mostly both responsible and amusing when it comes to the practice.
However, Tim MacMahon of ESPN brings word that the NBA and, more specifically, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum reached out to every franchise with a not-so-gentle reminder about the league’s social media policy. The memo reportedly includes three no-no’s of social media usage by teams and MacMahon shed a light on them. The first is to avoid anything that would “disparage, belittle or embarrass an individual opponent or game official,” with additional insights to avoid engaging in anything that would “mimic or impersonate an opponent or game official in a negative manner” or “criticize officiating or the NBA officiating program”
Most notably, the memo reportedly included a stern warning about “mocking and/or ridiculing” opponents or officials on social media, which immediately brings to mind a recent episode involving Chandler Parsons and the Portland Trail Blazers. In that case, the Blazers’ official Twitter account provoked Parsons by posting a video displaying an errant shot from the Memphis Grizzlies forward. In short order, that incident turned into a full-blown Twitter fight between Parsons and Blazers guard C.J. McCollum.
While that back-and-forth probably created additional attention that wasn’t terrible for the NBA, the league understandably would not want official accounts provoking that kind of response. It remains to be seen how this will be handled by the 30 team accounts but, for now, the memo itself has not surfaced in a public form and we are left to interpret what is publicly available.
Hopefully, the NBA will be avoiding the type of crackdown that the NFL infamously enacted to great backlash from both fans and media during the 2016 season. There is a reason that the league is growing exponentially and it definitely doesn’t hurt to be seen in the light as the most current professional sport when it comes to trends and advanced media.