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Think before you post: An athlete’s guide to social media etiquette

Think before you post: An athlete’s guide to social media etiquette

“Disney is making a movie about Mo’ne Davis? WHAT A JOKE. That slut got rocked by Nevada.”

Those were the exact words used in a tweet by Bloomsburg University’s first baseman Joey Casselberry about America’s sweetheart, Little League pitcher Mo’ne Davis.

This jarringly insensitive tweet resulted in Casselberry’s immediate removal from Bloomsburg’s baseball team, a tarnished reputation and a wave of Internet backlash that accused Casselberry of being racist, sexist, and completely insensitive, among other things.

This is a prime example of how college athletes should not use social media. As with many college athletes before Casselberry, one misstep of social media use and that’s the end of their college career as they know it.

You see, when you sign on the dotted line to compete in college athletics, at any level, you contractually take on the responsibility of properly representing your school in the best manner possible.

Coaches, mentors and alumni all take turns hammering into their athletes’ heads the guidelines of proper sportsmanlike conduct year after year. Yet somehow this message still falls on deaf ears.

Having heard these same warnings in my four years of competing in collegiate track and field, here’s a more digestible guideline to keep in mind when it comes to being a college athlete using social media.

1) Think before you post.

You’ve heard the old adage ‘think before you speak’. In this day in age, it is important to think before you post. Ask yourself one of these two questions before you post to social media: What would a recruit think? Would my grandma be ashamed? I guarantee you will know if that post is post-worthy.

2) The Internet is Forever.

Keep in mind what you post to social media and the Internet lasts forever; it’s never completely gone even if you think you have deleted it. That means someone can read that really stupid tweet you posted at 3 a.m. after a night out and, just like that, your collegiate career is over. So, instead of posting it and regretting it later, don’t do it at all.

3) No Alcohol.

Inevitably, due to the nature of college, at some point in time you will find yourself in the presence of alcohol, or other drugs. As tempting as it may be, it is your responsibility as a college athlete to conduct yourself correctly. Posting pictures with alcohol while representing your team or school is a huge mistake and drunken selfies are just as bad. Stay away from the alcohol when posting to social media. They leave a bad impression, can lead to suspension and not to mention most colleges have random drug testing for their athletes.

4) No Ignorance.

As you can see in the case of Joey Casselberry, ignorance is rarely tolerated in college sports. Never vent your ignorant kitchen table talk onto social media because now, more than ever, it will not be tolerated. In fact, listed within Palomar’s Athletic Department general information, it is very clear that “making public statements that are derogatory, controversial or outside the college’s accepted media policy is unacceptable behavior.”

A huge goal of being a college level athlete is to compete to your full potential and show the world exactly why your team is the best. Take these four simple guidelines and use it to eliminate making mistakes, like Casselberry, and think before you post!

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Think before you post: An athlete’s guide to social media etiquette