The NBA has been dealing with a lot of issues as of late. Whether it was the recent Charles Oakley debacle or the increased tensions via social media between players, the NBA has found itself a source of entertainment for all the wrong reasons.
In an effort to combat the problems that could potentially tarnish the league’s reputation, the organization released a memo to all 30 teams to reiterate the rules regarding social media.
“While we understand that the use of social media by teams, including during games, is an important part of our business, the inappropriate use of social media can damage the reputation of the NBA, its teams and its players,” the league’s deputy commissioner Mark Tatum wrote in the memo obtained by ESPN. “Recently, social media postings (e.g., on Twitter) by some teams have crossed the line between appropriate and inappropriate. In addition to other concerns, such conduct by teams can result in ‘Twitter wars’ between players that can cause further reputational damage and subject players to discipline by the league.
“As a result, we want teams to be aware of the NBA’s rules with respect to the use of social media by teams. As with in-game entertainment, teams are prohibited from mocking and/or ridiculing opponents (including teams, players, team personnel (including owners) and opponents’ home cities) and game officials on social media in any form, including through statements, pictures or videos.”
The memo comes just a few weeks after Chandler Parsons of the Memphis Grizzlies and C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers got into a heated exchange on Twitter. According to ESPN, it all started after the official Trail Blazers account posted a GIF of Parsons’ air-ball during their Jan. 27 match-up.
After the game, Parsons replied to the tweet, writing “Good luck in the lottery show this year,” to which McCollum directly responded, tweeting “We hit the lottery by not signing you.”
As a result, Tatum released the memo to recap the leagues expectations and restate what the organization considers inappropriate and unacceptable.
“Disparage, belittle or embarrass an individual opponent or game official,” Tatum wrote, providing bullet points of specific inappropriate behavior for team social media accounts. “Mimic or impersonate an opponent or game official in a negative manner.
“Criticize officiating or the NBA officiating program,” Tatum added as a final bullet point.
“In addition, teams should never disparagingly or negatively refer to an opponent’s or game official’s personal life, family, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or any other status or characteristic protected by law. Teams are also prohibited from using social media to highlight or encourage player altercations, flagrant fouls or hard physical contact between players, or to condone or make light of violence in any way or form,” the memo read.
“Teams may use social media for fun and lighthearted banter that does not reflect poorly on any team, player, other team or League personnel, or the League as a whole. However, such activity cannot become inappropriate or offensive. As such, we encourage teams to properly and extensively train their social media staff members to ensure that they know what kind of posting are appropriate and what kind are not.”