Chicago Bears: Should Team Adopt a No Twitter Policy?
By now, most people have heard about the Twitter ban that has taken affect in the Cincinnati Bengals' locker room.
If not, here's the story in a nutshell.
Rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick apparently crossed a line this past week, by tweeting about an injury before it went official through the team.
Management wasn't too happy about this, so they decided to enact a Twitter ban for at least the rest of training camp to make sure that players focus on football and preparing for the season, not on tweeting and being distracted.
The part about being distracted is fine, but should teams really ban players and coaches from using Twitter, even when off the field?
What about the Chicago Bears?
What would be the advantages and disadvantages to a Twitter ban for the Bears?
It's time to weigh both sides, and make a more permanent and distinctive mark on where social media stands in professional sports today, especially with the Chicago Bears.
Disadvantages to Twitter Ban
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Twitter has made teams explode with popularity, especially the players.
When used properly, it can make fans feel like they know the players personally, helping create a deep passion to the team for a fan.
Twitter also helps get out breaking news, things that people who are nowhere near a TV can see and react to in real time, not hours afterwards.
For example, take the official Twitter account for the Chicago Bears.
If someone subscribes to updates from the Chicago Bears, then when something big happens—like the team trading for Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall—fans don't have to wait to hear.
They can just receive the updates on their phones right then and there.
The great and infinite wisdom of ESPN, Zach Zaidman, along with many other experts, players and coaches, is right there for fans so they can stay current with their teams.
It is also helpful when a player uses Twitter to boost his fandom with a certain team.
Take newly acquired wide receiver Brandon Marshall for example.
A few days ago Marshall tweeted, "Someone pinch me, am I really a Bear?"
A tweet like that from a new player will really make fans, teammates, coaches and front office members really happy to have him on board, and the fans will be more welcoming to him.
Seen from this angle, Twitter can and should be looked at not as a distraction, but a tool that helps teams, players, and fans alike.
Advantages to a Twitter Ban
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While Twitter can be useful and helpful, Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis does have some very good points.
First off, Twitter can be a huge distraction.
Look at a player like Chad Johnson. Johnson became so self involved that he basically forgot what being a part of a team was all about.
He tweeted non-stop trash talking to other players, and even broke the NFL rules on using social media, which cost him a handsome $25,000.
Almost always, players can get themselves into trouble for tweeting something they weren't supposed to.
Secondly, there are media outlets for a reason.
During camp, players are supposed to be focused and ready to go so that when the season comes around, they know they have done everything possible to be in top shape and ready to go fight for a Super Bowl victory.
A ban on Twitter just takes away one more possible distraction, and sends a message to players that goofing off will not be put up with at camp.
Especially for a team with a lot of new players, a Twitter ban could actually help the Bears build chemistry among new teammates.
It could help make the new guys on the squad focus a little more and not worry so much about what fans or other players are saying.
On a team like the Bears, this fits perfectly.
Camp should not only be a time to focus, but a time to bond with new teammates and get to know one another.
Looking at it from this angle, a Twitter ban might not be so bad for the Bears after all.
Overall, Should the Chicago Bears Ban Twitter for Players?
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Those are the two sides for the argument.
On one hand, Twitter has arguably enhanced the fan experience more than any other social media outlet ever created, and none may ever come close to it.
The ability to look at your phone and see a message from a player on your favorite team, nothing can bring you closer to the team than that.
On the other hand, while it may bring fans closer, it can also be a distraction.
We've seen in the past with other players and other teams.
Also, as mentioned previously, not using Twitter could easily build more team chemistry on a team with lots of new players and rookies.
Overall, it seems that right now the good far outweighs the bad.
While there may be the occasional player who acts up and uses Twitter wrong, most players use it for good.
It brings players and fans closer together, which in turn helps the team.
While it also may be a distraction, at this point Twitter seems to be under control for the Chicago Bears and doesn't need to be banned.
As far as this camp goes, players should be more worried about working toward that one ultimate goal anyways.
If Twitter is the biggest problem that stands in the way of this team and a Super Bowl right now, then players should have the right to tweet anyways, because their game is flawless.
Final determination: As of right now, Twitter should stay, and continue to bring fans and players closer together.