Athletes and Social Media Mistakes

By Niovie Constantinou, Contributor

As previously discussed, an athlete’s brand is a crucial pillar to post-sports career opportunities and if used wisely, the building block to creating a legacy. At the very core of an athlete’s brand is, of course, social media: every professional athlete now uses social media to communicate with fans and promote their brand. For this reason, athletes should be diligent about how they use social media to ensure that the public perceives them in a positive manner and that they portray the most marketable version of themselves. From technology glitches to offensive tweets, social media mistakes happen quite often, bringing with them negative consequences, sometimes even resulting in ending an athlete’s career.

After making a homophobic tweet, Australian swimming star Stephanie Rice, lost a lucrative sponsorship deal from Jaguar, while Paraskevi Papachristou, a famous Olympic track and field athlete, thought it would be funny to make a racist tweet just before her first Olympics in 2012, resulting in her being dropped from her Olympic team, and her career never recovering from this mistake.

Former NFL player, Davone Bess, who at the time played for the Cleveland Browns, posted on Twitter a photo of marijuana in his home, creating major backlash from fans and the NFL. Although he deleted the tweet soon after, the damage was already done. To make matters worse, Bess continued posting controversial tweets and behaving in a bizarre manner, damaging his brand in an irreversible way which resulted in his sports career to collapse. Some athletes have even posted content unintentionally, like cyclist Lance Armstrong who once accidentally tweeted his cell phone number rather than sending a direct message!

The above examples show how important it is that an athlete is careful when using Twitter and other social media sites. If an athlete is serious about becoming successful, they should take extra care, to ensure that they do not throw away their careers for a careless social media post:

  • They should firstly educate themselves about the different social media platforms and how they work to avoid mistakenly posting content that was not meant to be publicized.
  • It may be worth attending a seminar on how to use social media: different platforms may help reach different audiences and so knowing which one to use when may go a long way.
  • They need to create a tailored social media strategy to help them reach their target audience. They should assess and revisit their strategy frequently so that they are keeping up with the trends!
  • It is important to stick to their strategy and not posting arbitrarily; when in doubt, it’s best to get a second opinion, or even consult with a social media expert.

Most importantly, athletes should accept that being in the spotlight makes social media a huge part of their career and their life and consequently they should avoid using it recklessly and start taking it seriously. For assistance on properly utilizing social media to help elevate your sports career, you can get in touch with us at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.