Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco recently expressed an intention to fully embrace the new technology known as Twitter, by posting updates to his page during regular-season games.
After catching wind of his vow, we asked the league whether in-game tweeting would be permitted. Initially, we were told that the league would look into it.
This morning, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello advised us of the league’s position.
“We already have a rule that prohibits the use of cell phones or other handheld devices in the bench area during games,” Aiello told us via e-mail.
Todd Wright of Sporting News Radio recently reminded us of that specific rule, which former Falcons coach Jim Mora violated on December 24, 2005 during a game against the Buccaneers.
We’re now looking into whether this rule extends into the locker room at halftime. Our current guess is that such matters fall within the purview of the teams. (And, as we previously have noted, the Bengals might prefer to have Chad venting via Twitter instead of doing something like, say, applying a headlock to Hue Jackson or swinging fists with Marvin Lewis.)
Then there’s the question of the potential penalty for in-game tweeting. It’s a subject about which Chad already is concerned, since he posed the following question last night, on his Twitter page: “If I tweet during the game and they suspend me, would I get paid during my suspension since it’s not a legal issue?”
As we pointed out in response to the tweet, he likely wouldn’t be suspended for a first offense. Instead, he’d be fined. Mora, for example, had to pay $25,000 as a result of his in-game cellular call.
Then again, the league doesn’t take kindly to guys who do things in defiance of a direct warning. So if Chad continues to talk about his intention to tweet during games and if the NFL at some point sends him a letter explaining that he should not do so, a suspension isn’t out of the question.
And, yeah, he wouldn’t be paid.