Sports journalists who venture into politics and other subjects on social media are often told to “stick to sports.” That’s the policy of the NFL.
The NFL’s vice president of social media and emerging programming, whose name happens to be Tom Brady, told SportsBusiness Journal that NFL Media employees are getting guidelines on social media that encourage tweeting about football, and only football.
“When in doubt, keep it to the game,” Brady said. “There’s always a time to showcase your personality and be able to engage with fans and go outside of your core. But at the end of the day, as a member of the NFL Media Group, try to stick to football because that’s what people want to hear from you about.”
NFL Network’s executive producer of studio and remote content, Mike Muriano, said the network’s reporters also need to avoid engaging with trolls.
“Talent needs to be careful with that level of engagement,” Muriano said. “Be smart and sensitive to if you’re getting trolled or not. Then just stop. Our talent, as the known quantity in this exchange, does not benefit by dressing down a fan — even if that fan is way off base. At some point, they have to know when to say that this has taken a turn and I’m not taking part anymore.”
Sports reporters often bristle at being told by their followers to stick to sports, and told by their bosses what to say on social media. But that’s the rule at the league-owned media outlet that would prefer to avoid stirring up trouble on Twitter.