NFL Advocates Player Tweets During The Pro Bowl In Twitter U-Turn
January 27, 2012
NFL (National Football League) has reneged on its game-time prohibition of Twitter and encouraged players to tweet during the 2012 Pro Bowl in Hawaii on Sunday, cough January 29th.
The step is a huge volte-face for the league. The current social media rules stipulate that through preseason, there regular season and the play-offs all players are banned from using any such networking websites from 90 minutes before kick-off through until the cessation of post-game media commitments.
In 2010, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco was fined $25,000 for tweeting during a preseason game in violation of the NFL social media policy and possession of an electronic device.
Ochocinco’s teammate Terrell Owens was also fined $5,000 in the same year for using Twitter within of the 90-minute “pre-game window”.
On Sunday, however, NFL will install computers on each sideline to allow all Pro Bowl players to utilise Twitter during commercial breaks or when their offensive or defensive unit is not in play. Players must use the official outlets to enter any social media post; participation is voluntary.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy stated, “Players are encouraged to interact with fans, teammates and opponents during the game, and can also update on Facebook”.
“We are always looking for ways to bring fans closer to the game and the players,” McCarthy added. “The nature of the Pro Bowl enables us to have players tweet during the game.”
At present, McCarthy claims “the league has no intention to adopt a similar approach for preseason, regular season or postseason games”.
The Pro Bowl includes selected players from the American Football Conference and National Football Conference as voted for by the fans. (No players affiliated with this year’s Super Bowl teams, the New York Giants and New England Patriot will be in participation as preparation is already under way for the NFL championship game on Sunday, February 5th).
The 2011 Pro Bowl secured the game’s highest average rating for fourteen years with an average of 13.4 million viewers.