10 Ways Social Media Ruined Sports

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2016

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 13:  The the Kentucky Wildcats take a selfie for Twitter after an 82-77 overtime Kentucky victory over the Texas A&M Aggies to win the SEC Basketball Tournament Championship at Bridgestone Arena on March 13, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Social media has done wonders for sports fans, giving us up-to-the-second coverage of news and trends to keep us all in the loop of what's going on while providing an outlet for us all to voice our opinions.

That doesn't mean that's always good, though, as there have been numerous times where places like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have absolutely ruined sports—and I'm sure these situations will remind you about when you've been a victim of it.

10. It's All About Being Viral

This is mostly true for athletes who go out of their way to do something in the heat of competition knowing once fans record it on their phone, it will break the Internet—regardless of consequence to the player's team during the game.

From over-the-top celebrations that get penalized to extreme ways of making announcements, social media has caused people to be attention-starved in the worst way.

Things get really dicey when it comes to college recruiting, too, as coaches do whatever they can to draw attention to their programs—like Michigan's Jim Harbaugh—and players stir up ways to go viral when revealing their college choice.

9. Athlete-Athlete Beefs That Are Nonexistent in Reality

There are plenty of reasons for athletes to have beef with one another—and the ones that matter are the ones that begin in the heat of battle during a game, not ones that happen because of social media.

Yet, all too often, fans see instances where opposing players talk crap about each other because of something that was said on Twitter, causing a beef that, well, shouldn't be taken too seriously because it's dumb.

I've never seen a hard foul in an NBA game come because of a Twitter beef or a hard hit happen in an NFL contest because someone said something about someone else on Instagram.

8. The Athlete-Fan Beefs That Come from It

Editor's note: Above video includes NSFW language.

On the positive side, social media has made it easier for fans to interact with their favorite atheltes, giving them access like we've never seen before.

However, the negative side of that means the Internet trolls creep from their dark holes to absolutely dog players when they do something that upsets that person, giving the fans free reign to lay into the athlete.

Whether or not players responds is up to them, but, when it happens, it can turn ugly at times, hurting players' reputations and, in some cases, even getting them in trouble with their team or league.

To think social media can be so powerful that an athlete is missing games is just one major reason why it has changed sports for the worse.

7. When It Ruins the Element of Surprise

Remember when shows like SportsCenter actually used to show highlights and had breaking news like player retirements or injuries? Now that there's social media, all it has become is a bunch of talking heads saying the same thing over and over and over.

That's not to say sports fans don't appreciate the fact reporters are using Twitter and and other social media outlets to get the news out faster. However, it's always a little disheartening when you find out through Twitter that a legendary player like Peyton Manning has announced his retirement from the NFL—which wasn't even fathomable when he first entered the league in 1998.

Gone are the days of going to work in the morning and coming home to get your sports news, thanks to social media giving updates all throughout the day.

6. Overexposure

This might be a strange thing to admit, but 20 years ago when there wasn't such a thing as social media, I enjoyed only seeing athlete heroes like Michael Jordan and Ken Griffey Jr. on ESPN a few times a day, not allowing me to know everything about their lives.

Unfortunately, nowadays, it's sort of a double-edged sword that both players and fans have to deal with, as the athlete gives all-access content to fans, but fans never asked for such a thing.

It's cool when athletes use social media appropriately by posting pics of themselves celebrating in the locker room with their teammates, but when it's done wrong, fans become tired of their superstars because they know way too much about them.

In other words, as much as social media can build players up, it can tear them down just as quickly—and that's sad.

5. The Crying Jordan Meme

There was a time when, at one point, the whole Crying Jordan meme was the most clever and hilarious thing sports social media had seen. That was a long, long time ago, though.

That's because fans—and even teams—are overusing it for everything, making a regular-season loss appear as if it is the end of the world and photoshopping Michael Jordan's crying face from his Hall of Fame speech onto a player or fan.

We're better than this, Internet, so can't we find something else that will replace the Crying Jordan meme now that it's been so overdone and, sadly, ruined?

4. When Athletes Are Disciplined Because of It

Americans might have freedom of speech, but some athletes who use Twitter haven't always been so lucky to, as they've actually gotten in trouble for sending something in 140 characters.

That's not to say all athletes who tweet think things through before hitting "send," but for those who don't mean harm and then get disciplined, it's ridiculous.

Again, I'm not defending the content of what some of these athletes have sent—in most cases, they were absolutely in the wrong and should have been punished in some way—but to fine a player thousands of dollars for tweeting something from their bed early in the morning is so stupid.

Seriously, what happens if a player slips up and does this before a championship game and gets suspended or something?

3. When the NCAA Bracket Was Leaked Early

The NCAA tries as hard as they can to keep things air-locked when it comes to giving any hints about which 68 teams will make it to the NCAA tournament each and every year, hoping to keep the drama as high as possible until the bracket is revealed in prime time.

It's too bad someone got hold of this year's bracket early, posting the damn thing on Twitter for fans to see—and it was 100 percent correct, which took out any element of surprise once it was officially announced.

In the end, fans are still tuning into the tourney as much as ever, but the fact something as sacred as the bracket was released early only because social media exists is a cause for concern.

2. The Unwarranted Criticism/Drama It Creates

The problem with social media in sports is that it's not meant to be explained, meaning when our favorite athletes post something, the media and fans twist it however they want to to create buzz.

Look no further than someone as big as LeBron James, who has caught heat lately for sending out cryptic tweets that may or may not be directed toward his teammates and/or the Cleveland Cavs' organization, even unfollowing his team on Twitter and allegedly Instagram the other day—which caused a firestorm in the media.

Limited to a small amount of space to write, James may just feel like letting some steam off or giving some inspiring words. It's too bad, if that ever were the case, people on social media won't allow/believe it.

1. When the DVR Becomes Irrelevant

Here's a true story from the other day.

While I was plopped on my couch watching one of the play-in games on DVR, I had to literally toss my phone into the other room, refusing to even tempt myself with looking at anything other than the TV in fear that score alerts would be blasted all over social media.

And this is just the worst.

While some of these other examples are bad, when fans are hoping to go through an entire day without hearing who won a game, social media always seems to happen, revealing the score and giving analysis.

Blame social media, because it's all its fault.


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