Social media and sports just don't gel!

Round about now Kevin Pietersen will be asking himself: 'was it worth the trouble?'

Emad Zafar September 12, 2012
The modern era of sports has seen the industry experience an overhaul of the conventional modes of communication. The integration of the social media with the world of sports meant that communication was taken to a whole new level — one that now seems to be getting the better of most sports organisations and athletes.

Social media portals such as Facebook and Twitter are not just confined to sports boards and organisations. The ‘social circle’ now entails athletes and players as well, who have redefined the use of these portals as an outlet to directly communicate with their fans and followers.  Whether it is expressing their delight after a glorious triumph or venting out their frustration after their latest controversy, athletes have brought social media to full use.

However, numerous recent events involving the extended use of the social media by athletes, and the controversies they have given way to, have raised a serious question mark against it: was it worth the trouble?

The well documented saga between the England and Wales Cricket Board and much-maligned batsman Kevin Pietersen is a recent example of social media’s abuse to sports. Pietersen’s continuous use of his Twitter account to express his frustration with the board’s refusal to let him choose his desired formats of the game not only deteriorated his relationship with the management but also became one of the several reasons for his exit from the team. Watching from the sidelines after being axed, as his team battles for glory, he would now be asking himself: was it worth the trouble?

In other recent controversy involving the explicit use of social media by an athlete, Manchester United veteran Rio Ferdinand found himself in deep waters for his tweet about fellow England team-mate Ashley Cole. His tweet, which referred to Cole as ‘choc ice’, came across as a racist remark and lead to Ferdinand being charged by the Football Association (FA) of England for alleged racism. The defender ended up being fined £45,000 for the post and was also warned over future conduct by the FA.

Surely, he would be thinking, was it worth the trouble?

In the ideal world, the essence of sports for every athlete should lie in the triumphs and defeats on the field rather than what happens on their social media profiles.

It is high time they realise that the hassle and the controversy are not worth the trouble.

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Emad Zafar A PR, Communications and Digital Media professional with an undying passion for all things sport, technology, music, media and aviation. He tweets as @emadzafar (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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