Before our summer intern, Anna, leaves us for the summer to head back to college, we asked her to weigh in on social media, after the recent discovery of Jash Hader's tweets:
If you were to ask me two months ago my thoughts on the importance of filtering through athletes social media, I probably would have laughed in your face. I would’ve said that it is a total waste of time. If you were to ask me this now, I would tell you the exact opposite. I would tell you that this is something that absolutely must be done for any athlete before they enter the world of professional sports.
The problem is, in today's society, most people working for professional athletes, would have agreed with what I thought just months ago. This is what leads us to countless sticky situations athletes get in over social media. The harsh reality is, social media is everywhere and anyone can have access to it. An athlete’s brand can be trashed instantaneously by one post they made a decade ago. On the contrary, social media is such a powerful tool. When used correctly, an athlete has the potential to connect with fans, make money, and grow a crazy, awesome brand.
Take what just happened in baseball as an example of how important this is. Josh Hader, a pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, is under scrutiny for a series of tweets that he posted in high school. These highly offensive tweets were brought to attention while he was playing in his first ever All- Star game (literally during the game).
His reputation will forever be tarnished by this series of tweets. He will no longer be remembered for the amazing work that he has done- as it is almost impossible to make it into the major league let alone the All-Star game. His hard work and accomplishments will now forever be swept under the rug by a mistake he made seven years ago. On top of that, his family has to endure the backlash from this as well as they return back home.
As his punishment, he has to take sensitivity courses. I am not saying that he should be punished for multiple games for this, but I do believe a standard needs to be set. Professional sports as a whole need to enforce a message that this behavior is not acceptable. Young people need to see that there are punishments for actions like this.
If someone on his team took the time to go through and filter through his social media, could this have been avoided? Absolutely.
On a personal note, since working for LW Branding, I have seen the importance of filtering through my own social media. I have since gone through everything that I have posted. Although most of my thoughts when going through my accounts were, “thank god my middle school days are over,” I am so thankful I did this. As a 14 year old posting about my Justin Bieber obsession, I definitely didn’t view social media like I do now. You see, your social media represents your brand- who you are as a person and how you want others to perceive you. It is so important to then make sure that this representation is the best it can be.
I now pose the question to you: how do we fix this problem? It is as simple as filtering through social media. Professional athlete or not, this can make or break your career.