Hands Up, Don’t Shoot
I Can’t Breathe
Athletes Social Media
December is a time for social media reflection and prediction blog posts. Most read from the same premise, albeit with different words. Some, however, are worth the time to read. Take this one from Jorge Arangure Jr on VICE Sports on athletes finding their “social” voice.
Back in October 2013, having seen the evolution of social media and the effect on sports, I decided to dig a little deeper with a series of social media q&a’s. I wanted to get perspectives from different people across the social media landscape. I interviewed people in Australia, the U.K., Canada and here in the U.S. They worked in digital media, sports writing, sports business, broadcasting and yes, even an athlete. Not just any athlete, but one who played at the highest level in soccer (football) – the Premier League. I interviewed Rohan Ricketts.
Rohan Ricketts is a former footballer with Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Arsenal and Toronto FC. Ricketts was part of my q&a series. I chose Ricketts because I observed his interaction with fans and media on Twitter. He didn’t talk down to people. He was engaging and interacting – he “got” it.
One of the questions I asked (you can read the entire Q&A here) was about his outlook for social media in sports. Being as it was the last quarter of 2013, I suppose you can look at that as a prediction question. I didn’t mean it in that way, but rather, I wanted his perspective as an athlete. How athletes view social media isn’t always how marketers, fans or media view it. I thought he’d bring a fresh outlook.
And, he did.
It was Ricketts who I thought of when I was reading that VICE Sports piece on Saturday. It was amazing to me how spot on Ricketts was. Whether it’s on social media or through a t-shirt, the social voice of athletes is on the rise. Are there “PR issues” that athletes need to be aware of, as Ricketts suggested? Yes. Right or wrong athletes who desire or have sponsorship dollars still need to be cognizant of what issues they weigh in on.
Along with giving athletes a voice, social media has given them an ear (so to speak). It’s an outlet they can access to “hear” what’s going on in the world. What is the hot topic. What is the outrage. It helps them become aware. Perhaps even validating their own thoughts and ideas on an issue.
Does it empower them? Impossible to provide a blanket-answer for all athletes. But, it cannot be denied that for some, it does embolden them to take a stand.
Even a quiet one.
@drose's nonverbal #ICantBreathe t-shirt statement speaks volumes http://t.co/hIGVAapR2b via @suntimes #EricGarner pic.twitter.com/ufCFfxi9Iv
— Maudlyne Ihejirika (@maudlynei) December 8, 2014