If I were running a professional sports franchise – and it’s only a matter of time – I’d recommend to the athletes that they stay off social media.
After getting laughed out of the room, I’d repeat myself: Twitter, et al will eventually get you, or you’ll eventually get yourself.
The latest athlete to do damage on social media is White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton. During the Academy Awards on Sunday, he tweeted, “What does it always have to be about black and white…? #American’’
That was in response to host Chris Rock’s monologue, which centered on the all-white nominees in the acting categories.
Eaton deleted the tweet and later apologized, saying he only meant that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of color. Even if that were his intent, it was too late, for the simple fact that it’s always too late on social media. Since then, he has been bombarded with abuse for his comments.
You might agree with Eaton’s tweet or you might think it the most tone-deaf statement in history, but you can’t say it’s nuanced. In general, a professional athlete weighing in on society’s great issues in 140 characters or fewer is a minefield. Eventually, he or she is going to take a wrong step. And there will be no going back.
As a journalist, I’m all about free speech. As a future franchise owner, I’m all about protecting my assets.