|Social media policies restrict athletes|
|Wednesday, 08 August 2012 10:35|
On 6 August, the Elite Ice Hockey League, released a new policy barring athletes from using social networking sites on game days. The ban extends from two hours before face-off to one hour after the final buzzer.
The Elite policy joins English Premier League (EPL) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) regulations regarding social media. Ice hockey players have, at times, used social media to challenge opponents to off-ice fights, a practice the League hopes the official policy will counteract.
“We want to make clear what is and what is not acceptable,” spokesman Tony Smith said in a press release.
The EPL instituted an official policy on social networking on 25 July after football clubs asked the league to provide limitations on players’ use of tweets. Both leagues promise disciplinary action for violations.
The controversial Rule 40 policy released by the IOC has inflamed athletes’ opinions over the past week.
The U.S. Track and Field Association has spearheaded a Twitter-based protest against the stipulations barring athletes endorsement of unofficial Olympic sponsors on personal accounts. Athletes in violation of Rule 40 can have their accreditation removed and be disqualified.
In Beijing, there were six million registered users of Twitter, today there are 500 million. More than 10 million tweets were posted during the first weekend of competition
British Olympic Association’s Sir Clive Woodward said the IOC may not understand the essential role social media plays in athletes’ lives.
But the right to speak can be abused, as U.S. football goalkeeper Hope Solo found when she trashed former player and NBC commentator Brandi Chastain on Twitter. So did Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou who was barred from the Games after posting a racist tweet.
British hockey captain Barry Middleton said he is avoiding social media during the Olympics. “I’ve decided it’s safer,” he said.