Why Twitter Spells Trouble For Some Pro Athletes

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Do sports and Twitter mix? That’s the question that the latest Twitter-gate has prompted. Over the weekend, many eyebrows were raised over a tweet generated from Carmelo Anthony’s official Twitter account, @carmeloanthony, offering anyone $5,000 to slap Kat Stacks, an infamous groupie who has built up name recognition primarily through exposing her escapades with rappers, after she began flirting with him via Twitter. Ultimately the exchange, which also involved responses from Anthony’s new bride and former MTV personality LaLa Vazquez, was ruled null and void by Anthony, who declared via Twitter that his account had been hacked.

Whether one believes Anthony or not, it’s clear that he is not all by himself when it comes to Twittter-generated problems. Like most of the country, athletes have also flocked to Twitter and, just like other celebrities, they command significant followings. Whenever anyone brings such a big fan base to the table, there are bound to be problems. In fact, both the NFL and NBA now have Twitter policies and they have enforced them regardless of the circumstances or the messages.

Towards the end of last year, for example, the NBA fined Milwaukee Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings $7,500 for tweeting “Back to 500. Yess!!! “500” means where [sic] doing good. Way to Play Hard Guys.” Although the message, in itself, was positive, the rule is players aren’t allowed to tweet during the game as well as 45 minutes before or after the game. There are no exceptions in the NBA. Both Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were fined $7,500 each for tweeting updates to their Twitter accounts during a game, even though it’s doubtful either man did the tweeting himself.

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