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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Professional athletes usually have thousands of followers and fans to interact with on Twitter and Facebook. Depending on how social media is used by players, it can be a great tool or a real problem. Major League Baseball has put some rules in place to try and avoid the latter.
A memo sent to players by MLB is a reminder of new guidelines that were agreed upon when the players association and the league signed a new collective bargaining agreement in November.
The following are considered “appropriate” uses of social media:
- Interacting with fans;
- Sharing non-confidential information about you and your activities;
- Highlighting charitable or promotional activity that you might be participating in on your own or in conjunction with Major League Baseball or your Club; and
- Working with your management team or Club officials to conduct unique promotions that can provide your fans merchandise, tickets or unique experiences.
The following are considered “prohibited” uses of social media:
- Displaying or transmitting Content via Social Media that reasonably could be construed as an official public communication of any MLB Entity without obtaining proper authorization.
- Using an MLB Entity’s logo, mark, or written, photographic, video or audio property without obtaining proper authorization.
- Linking to the website of any MLB Entity on any Social Media outlet without obtaining proper authorization.
- Displaying or transmitting Content that contains confidential or proprietary information of any MLB Entity or its employees or agents, including, for example, financial information, medical information, strategic information, etc.
- Displaying or transmitting Content that reasonably could be construed as condoning the use of any substance prohibited by Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
- Displaying or transmitting Content that questions the impartiality of or otherwise denigrates a Major League umpire.
- Displaying or transmitting Content that is derogatory or insensitive to individuals based on race, color, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or religion, including, but not limited to, slurs, jokes, stereotypes or other inappropriate remarks.
- Displaying or transmitting Content that constitutes harassment of an individual or group of individuals, or threatens or advocates the use of violence against an individual or group of individuals.
- Displaying or transmitting Content that contains obscene or sexually explicit language, images, or acts.
- Displaying or transmitting Content that violates applicable local, state or federal law or regulations.
Though most of these guidelines could be considered common sense, there are a few that seem likely to be broken sooner rather than later. Questioning an umpire is something that happens often in post game interviews, so the odds of a quick tweet regarding a questionable call seem high. As well, financial and medical information that may be considered “confidential” seems like a line that will be easily crossed.
Read the entire memo and set of guidelines at Biz Of Baseball.