Social Media: The Burden on sports organisations

Social media is a tool that allows freedom of speech, a constant stream of information and conversation on any subject you wish to talk about. Something of a blessing to sports fans. The platform derives both positive and negative content for millions of people to see, however, the latter has been a stalwart for many professional athletes, especially on Saido  Berhanio’s timeline over his turbulent last three years with West Bromwich Albion, causing outrage amongst fans and splitting the already fractured dressing room. Berahino is undoubtedly one of the best young English strikers with an abundance of footballing talent. However, the same can’t be said for the way the West Bromwich Albion forward conducts himself on Twitter and if he carries on abusing the power he has online he will repeatedly find himself in trouble with his club and jeopardise his already stalling career.

The Tweet which landed Berahino in so much trouble

In Celine Stilletto’s article “An Analysis of Social Media Policies Adopted by Sporting Organisations” there are arguments for sports organisations to instigate policies and rules regarding social media. (Woodgate 2012) ‘Argues that social media policy needs to be in place to guide sports entities’ which would help members of that organisation realise the boundaries they must keep to with the content they post, as well as the potential repercussions of negative or offensive tweets such as fines. However, these are in place at a number of high profile sports teams and organisations but have failed to curb reckless use of social media as the fines are not significant in relevance to the astronomical player wages. Therefore, when players such as Berhanino tweet content such as “WTF” and “will never play under Jeremy Peace (West Brom chairman) fines and warnings are not of any relevance to the player. That is why is naïve of Clubs and sporting bodies who expect their sporting constituency to show when engaging in social media activities (Carmine Stilletto 2014).

Tweets the NCAA try to avoid

Sports teams now go to great lengths to stop athletes posting content which will damage themselves as well as the organisation they are associated too. In college sport Universities monitor their athlete’s social media to ensure they don’t incur fines and bans from the NCAA (Hough 2015). This is because of the immense pressure to ensure student-athletes comply with a host of NCAA rules. Measures such as this are likely to carry on and will further breach the relationship between sports fans and players as they remove themselves from the public eye in order to stay out of trouble.



Woodgate, Steve. 2012. “Discussion and Analysis: A better Social Media policy is needed in
Sport (Part Six)“. Sports Business Insider, Last modified December 11 2012. analysis-a-better-social-media-policy-is-needed-in-sport-part-six/.

Sellitto, C 2014, ‘An Analysis of Social Media Policies Adopted by Sporting Organisations’, International Journal Of Sport & Society, 4, 2, pp. 13-24, SPORTDiscus with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 April 2016.

Hough, C 2015, ‘The Use of Social Media among Student-Athletes: The Positive and Negatives’, Kentucky Newsletter For Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 52, 2, pp. 17-18, SPORTDiscus with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 April 2016.

Berahino Image Header. [Online] Available From: <>
[Accessed April 14th]

Jalen Tabor Tweet. [Online] Available From: <>
[Accessed 26th April 2016]

Saido Berhanio Tweet [Online] Available from: >;
[Accessed 14th April]


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