The NFL has punted the popular social network Twitter.
On Monday, the National Football League announced that players, coaches, and other team personnel can use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook during the season. However, they are prohibited from using social networks starting 90 minutes before a game, through the game, and until post-game interviews are complete.
The rules extend to people representing a player or coach, such as agents, friends and family, and even include the media covering the games.
“Longstanding policies prohibiting play-by-play descriptions of NFL games in progress apply fully to Twitter and other social media platforms,” the NFL said in a statement. “Internet sites may not post detailed information that approximates play-by-play during a game. While a game is in progress, any forms of accounts of the game must be sufficiently time-delayed and limited in amount.”
Several teams already had similar rules, but rumor has it the NFL felt compelled to create a league-wide rule after controversial Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said recently that he plans to Tweet while playing.
This is not a surprising rule given that the NFL has always tightly controlled its product, from broadcast to merchandising to reporting. The NFL has strict regulations on who can report what from its games. Social networks like Twitter turn players and average citizens into mini-reporters who could potentially broadcast unique news about football games. You can bet that the NFL wants to control and perhaps eventually monetize that news. It’s not hard to imagine football in the year 2020 with in-helmet quarterback Tweets.
Article published on September 2, 2009
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