Athlete Social Media Behavior Matters as Much as Talent

April 25, 2023 | by Rachel Kronenfeld

This is Part 2 of a 4-part miniblog series. Read Part 1 here.

Pro and collegiate athletes have huge followings. A single controversial social media post from an athlete can trigger a tidal wave of backlash. Superfans sometimes even scour an athlete’s social media going back many years to resurface a controversial post and create a present-day furor. In any case, it’s absolutely critical to be aware of negative social media behaviors of sports influencers. When teams are recruiting players, performing a social media audit can ensure an athlete’s online behavior comports with the sports team’s good reputation.

No matter how much talent an athlete may have, in the age of social media, one’s online image is as important as his or her pure talent. Offensive language, hate speech, threats of violence towards any party, and extremist views are enough to damage the reputation of any team, regardless of whether an athlete is an established fan favorite or a recent recruit. Ensuring that athletes maintain sportsmanlike conduct via social media is as important as ensuring they do so on the field, the court or the ice. Sports team management and communications departments should implement social media policies and training for their athletes and vigorously enforce such policies to avoid reputational damage to both the athlete and the team.