Formal league policy on Twitter is coming

When we asked NFL spokesman Greg Aiello about Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco’s stated intent to post updates to Twitter during games, Aiello’s reaction (essentially, “we’ll get back to you”) demonstrated the wild-west feel of this new and burgeoning social-networking technology.

Aiello later told us that, to the chagrin of Ochocinco, the league currently prohibits the use of cell phones or wireless devices from the sideline area during games, and that the league otherwise is reviewing the issue.

On Friday, Commissioner Roger Goodell told the Los Angeles Times that the league will soon make an official announcement regarding its Twitter rules, via an update to the NFL’s current policies regarding the use of electronic devices.

We’re told that the league generally prohibits the use of any information-gathering equipment that may be used as a coaching aid.   The current rule encompasses cell phones, PDAs, and computers of any kind.  The ban applies to the sidelines, the coaching both, the locker room, and any other club-controlled areas on game day.

The difference here, in our view, is that posting updates on Twitter involves no gathering of information.  However, the problem is that, by introducing into the locker room devices from which Twitter updates could be made, for example, during halftime, the possibility of the devices being used to gather information arises.

So the safest course for the league and its teams would be to instruct players to stay away from Twitter from the moment they arrive at the stadium on game day until the moment they officially have cleared the building.

It still leaves plenty of time for potentially compelling interaction with fans — from the airplane to and/or from road games, on the bus to and/from the stadium, and from the hotel room when a player is dealing with insomnia the night before a big game.

Though that might not be enough for Ochocinco, we think it’s the most the league is going to allow.

16 responses to “Formal league policy on Twitter is coming

  1. chad is an idiot. once seen as the playfully funny T.O. i now just see him as a guy on his way to wasting his talent as he tries to become more famous instead of continuing to improve himself as a player. shouldn’t he be more concerned with regaining his probowl form than twittering some B.S. during the middle of a game.

  2. So I wonder if Mr. Eight Five is allowed to just hand over a phone to a friend in the stands and on the way out of the locker room he tells the friend what to post on his Twitter.
    I can’t see how he’d get into trouble for that. Maybe he should hire me to head his “Gimmick Idea/Getting Around The Rules” team.

  3. Chad Johnson is not the problem here (idiot though he most certainly is), the NFL is the problem. The league takes itself WAY too seriously. It’s only a football league. I’d love to see the NFL taken down a few pegs with congress taking away the anti-trust exemption. Roger Goodell is bad for the game and bad for the league. Not only is he turning it into a flag football league a little at a time, he’s also taken the term “No Fun League” to even greater extremes. What’s next……NFL policies about Facebook? Lame.

  4. you would think the league shouldn’t need to have a policy on in-game tweeting. it should be a common sense thing. once again, chad johnson cementing his status as an A+ turd

  5. OchoStinko will push the envelope on whatever NFL soon decides is its “Tweeting” policy.
    Why couldn’t OchoStinko have been dating Kazemi?

  6. Simple Solution for Chad…Have a friend sitting first row by the bench area, and have them tweet for him.

  7. nothing is going to stop chad from getting some one a seat behind the bench and telling them what to tweet on his account. The league can try, but what are they going to do if he does not have the electronic devise on him during the game. All they have to say is its not mine, and what is the NFL going to do, sue twitter for the IP information? They are not that powerful

  8. Chad will simply find someone in the stands near the Bengals sideline and communicate with him what to post to Ocho’s twitter account. That communication could be a series of hand signals.
    I’d like to see the NFL get away in court (as this would go to federal court) with fining Ocho because he moved his pinky in a certain way during a game!

  9. I agree with CAPTAIN FANTASTIK. This should be a team rule, not a league rule. I mean Twitter is a one way social tool; Sure you can “gather” information but ONLY if some idiot posts it. First of all do you think a fan will notice something of importance that one of the dozen of experienced and well-trained coaches in the booth wouldn’t? The only thing it’s going to do is distract the player if he’s using it. If a coach doesn’t mind his players distracted, let ’em do their thing. I agree it’s got NO place in the NFL. These guys think b/c they’re gifted athletes they can do whatever they want and get away with it! They’re making a mockery of a profession. Any type of Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Gameboy, whatever- involved in a game doesn’t break any rules, it’s just classless. Take some damn pride in your craft. Pretend like you care about doing your job well as opposed to being liked. This guy thinks he’s still a senior in high school; more interested in being prom king than scribed onto a state championship trophy somewhere.

  10. Players should be allowed to Tweet during the games only if they are wearing a dress…The gayest thing in the history of civilization..

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