Within the past few years, social media has become part and parcel of people’s life. With the likes of Twitter and Facebook, they give footballers a chance to interact with fans and to let people know how they feel, whether good or bad. Although the later seems to be happening too much and making headlines.
In the latest version of events, Ashley Cole’s explicit tweet towards the FA after they deemed the evidence he gave in the John Terry racism trial was questionable, he made front page news. Although he quickly deleted the tweet, the damage was done. He faces disciplinary action at Chelsea but looks to have escaped punishment from the FA after he apologised to the FA’s chairman, David Bernstein.
With many clubs having a strict discipline rule on social media sites, the FA sent a letter to every player, manager and club officials warning them that they face playing bans and fines on any posts deemed racist or offensive. But it appears a few players have seemed to ignore this request.
Rio Ferdinand commented on a tweet that referred to Ashley Cole as a ‘choc ice’, after he gave evidence in the John Terry trial, a derogatory word describing Cole as black on the outside but white on the inside. Ferdinand got a fine of 45,000 pounds.
Joey Barton has had several rants on twitter although none have actually seen him punished. His most high-profile rant was after he was dismissed on the last day of the 2011-2012 premier league season for violent conduct. After declaring that he tried to take one of the Manchester City players with him, he then proceeded to take more of his anger out on Match of the Days host Gary Lineker and pundit Alan Shearer. Barton threatened to expose a side to Gary Linkeker that people didn’t know and describes Shearer as a poor manager and pundit.
The problem the FA has now is that most players take to twitter. Most players respond to fans and answer questions honestly and give their take on certain events. A new problem for the FA to deal with as the likes of twitter has only come to the fore in recent years. It’s hard to imagine the likes of the crazy gang taking to twitter to express their views. But these are the times and footballers have to respect that they have a duty to fill and set an example to be role models to the younger generation.