Last week the National Football League (NFL) announced that it was banning Twitter, before, during, and after games. The NFL said that it will let players, coaches, and other team personnel engage in social networking during the season. However, they will be prohibited from using Twitter and from updating profiles on Facebook and other social-networking sites during games. The Twitter ban goes into effect from 90 minutes before gametime until the post-game press conferences end. They don't call it the No-Fun-League without a reason. Apparently, the league is trying circumvent its players from becoming the NBA's Charlie Villanueva or Shaquille ONeal who each tweeted during games last year.
Much has already been written about the unsocial nature of this policy, impact, and overall unenforceability of this decision. I highly recommend fans read posts by Brian Solis, Adam Ostrow, and Don Reisinger.
Not all of the teams have shied away from Twitter. One, the New York Jets, have embraced it.
As a long suffering fan, I am proud to see so many Jets (Kerry Rhodes, Jay Feeley, Nick Mangold, DBrickashaw Ferguson, James Ihedigbo, Chansi Stuckey, Dustin Keller, David Clowney and Mark Sanchez) active on Twitter. Even team owner Woody Johnson has an account, although he's not very active. It's great to see the players and team support social media. On Brian Bassett's bible for Jets fans, there was a recent post that articulated the Pro's and Con's of the team's Twitter activity. Personally, I am a strong supporter of players engaging directly with their fans. It's fantastic to connect with players and learn their opinions on sports and life in general. It seems like the players are really enjoying it, too.
One Jet, has really taken to Twitter. All-Pro Safety Kerry Rhodes has been chatting with fans all weekend about potential trades and teasing us about a big announcement tomorrow at 2:00. Like most fans, I can't wait to learn what it is.
Kerry has been responding to fans with over 100 tweets this labor day weekend. Access and engagement like that is something that every fan yearns for. This is what social media is all about! It's what every company seeks- healthy conversation between fans (customers) and the team about the product. I hope that the NFL follows the example that Kerry has set and reconsiders its policy. As a Jet fan, I'm proud of Kerry Rhodes. I hope he leads the team not only to social media excellence, but also excellence on the field. Whether you're a fan of the Jets or another team, I'm sure you'll agree that the access to the players on Twitter adds a whole new dimension to being a fan.