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Nowadays, almost everyone is on at least one form of social media platform. No matter who you are, you are constantly able to update the world on whatever you may be doing at the moment or just any thought that pops into your mind.  It’s like a little window into your personal life that never existed before. Don’t get me wrong, social media is great for connecting with people, staying in touch, and promoting yourself. But sometimes it can get a little invasive and may get you in trouble if you’re not careful.

Now imagine you’re a famous athlete. Everyone knows who you are. Every aspect of your career is tracked, analyzed, and critiqued. You’re constantly being asked questions about your performance and sometimes your personal life. Being on social media gives you a chance to be more authentic and personal in the public eye. You can interact with fans and even critics online while promoting your personal brand.  However, when your personal life is already under a microscope, one wrong step on the internet can get you into big trouble and possibly cost you your job.

So now let’s look at the top 5 times athletes got in trouble on social media.

Antonio Brown Goes Live

Reporting live from the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room: #84 Antonio Brown. After the Steelers’ 18-16 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Brown and the Steelers advanced to the AFC Championship where they would soon face the New England Patriots. Brown almost immediately goes Live on Facebook once he enters the locker room. The broadcast starts out as an innocent celebration with his teammates, but the 17-minute long window into the team’s private locker room captures head coach Mike Tomlin referencing the Patriots matchup along with a few phrases not intended for anyone but his team’s ears.  No one in the organization, besides a few teammates featured on the live stream, were aware that their whole locker room was being broadcasted to the public. Brown was scrutinized by his coach and the media that following week for invading his team’s privacy.

The lesson learned here is there are certain times where social media can be inappropriate and certain protocol must be followed before putting a private team moment on a platform for the whole world to see.  

LA Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell Puts it All Out There

Rookie D’Angelo Russell leaked a private conversation between himself and Nick “Swaggy P” Young on Snapchat.  During the video you can hear Young bragging about a hookup with a girl at a club, all while being engaged to pop star Iggy Azalea. In this case, Russell’s actions on social media destroyed his buddy’s love life, and negatively affected their friendship. This incident highlighted Russell’s immaturity and led to the Lakers trading him to the Nets.  A close source to the situation stated Russell is “sometimes 20 going on 14.” Ouch. 

The Laremy Tunsil NFL Draft Experience

This is a professional athlete’s worst nightmare.  On the biggest day of his life, video footage of Laremy Tunsil smoking a gas mask bong surfaced on his Twitter account.  For obvious reasons, this wasn’t the best look for Tunsil, as the projected number-one overall draft pick slid all the way to the Miami Dolphins at pick number 13, costing him millions of guaranteed dollars. While this video leak must have been a hack, it just goes to show you that nobody is safe on social media.  Once you think you’re in the clear, a video of you smoking illegal drugs will come out on your draft day. So hello athletes, be responsible when nobody’s watching, and keep your passwords safe and well designed.

Draymond Green Doesn’t Always Play Lock-Down D

This has to be the biggest no-no in the social media handbook.  There is no delicate way of saying this so I’ll just go ahead and say it. Draymond Green accidentally posted a Snapchat story of his privates. What. A. Nightmare. Green initially responded on Twitter stating he was hacked, but later admitted his mistake to reporters.

The repeated theme seems to be just be more careful when using social media.  But we learn another valuable lesson here. Honesty. Own up to your mistakes, no matter how silly they may be. The public values honesty, and because of the way Green handled this messy situation, it went away rather quickly.

Johnny Football’s Entire Career

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What a mess. Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football, was an electric QB out of Texas A&M and one of the biggest stories in his NFL draft class of 2014.  Once Johnny was drafted #22 overall by the Cleveland Browns, things started to go downhill.

Reports of Manziel showing up drunk to practice and missing mandatory concussion meetings with trainers really started to highlight how much he only seemed to care about the money and fame instead of the game of football. LIke any other 21-year-old kid with money, Manziel thought he was invincible. Instagram posts suggested he only cared about partying and blowing money on expensive toys. Videos of him in clubs yelling obnoxiously into the camera seemed to be an everyday theme with Manziel, who didn’t seem to care very much about how he was wasting a once in a lifetime opportunity to be an NFL quarterback. After spending most of his time with Browns WR, Josh Gordon, who has been suspended for two straight seasons as a result of multiple failed drug tests, reports of Manziel possessing large amounts of cocaine in his house surfaced.  Manziel’s own father spoke out against him, stating that he needs help and if he continues this reckless behavior, his son may be in extreme danger. Manziel continued to post sneaky Instagram captions clapping back at accusations in the media.

Eventually, Manziel checked himself into rehab and is currently working hard to make a comeback.  Manziel is a gifted athlete, no question. But his past behavior off the field has left a majority of NFL teams uninterested. Manziel had all the tools in the world to be a successful pro athlete. Instead, he chose to go down the wrong path and his missteps were amplified by social media. In my opinion Johnny Manziel is the perfect example of how social media can ruin a promising career.

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You can never be too careful when using social media. Being too careless online can negatively affect your job, and your reputation. These star athletes live under a microscope, where everyone follows every detail of their lives. Because of this, they serve as the supreme example of what not to do on social media. With that in mind, post wisely, friends.

 

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Andrew Hafner

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