Cincinnati Bengals’ receiver Chad Ochocinco is stickin’ it to the man in order to protest the NFL’s ban on the use of social networking sites like Twitter. How? Oh, it’s a surprise.
Professional sports leagues have had issues with Twitter and its ilk for some time now – how do you get people to tune in to game reports when they can just follow their favored athlete of choice as they update from the sidelines about how the game is going? How do you schedule press conferences to find out about the players’ opinions when they’ve already expressed those opinions about the game in 140-character live updates?
Near the end of the NFL training season, the league established guidelines for the use of Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites that would prohibit their use by athletes and other team personnel from 90 minutes before kickoff to after official post-game interviews, but said guidelines haven’t always been well-received – even by professional receivers. (Okay, yes, that one was bad)
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver – and prolific Twittaholic – Chad Ochocinco has been looking for loopholes since the beginning of the ban. At one point, Ochocinco even considered getting his fans to Tweet for him from the stands based on signals he gave from the field, though NFL officials ruled that out. But this Sunday, as the Bengals kick off their season against the Denver Broncos, Ochocinco is determined to work his way around the regulations – and he thinks he has a way to do it, reports FOX Sports.
“I’ve been really, really quiet, and there’s a storm coming Sunday,” he said. “That’s one of the things that I do when I’m back: I have something. I keep you on the edge of your seat.”
“NFL, I would like to apologize to you guys early. I understand. I read all the fine print in the letters you sent, but I did find loopholes. I found loopholes.”
On the one hand, his devotion to the Twitter network is remarkable in a way. This is a man who is determined to get his Tweet on whatever the cost, full speed ahead, and damn the torpedoes. On the other hand, it seems like intentionally antagonizing the people who could fine you or suspend you from playing football is a poor idea. And if Ochocinco has found a loophole – and what could be more loophole-y than getting fans to Tweet for you based on signals from the field – what’s to stop them from just adding that to the regulations?
Or perhaps this is just the receiver’s last stand: “Due to the many rules the NFL has made I’ve found it difficult to enjoy Twitter and I’ll be deleting my account :(” he posted last Friday. It’s possible that the surprise he has in store may cause the NFL to totally re-examine its policy, but… Chad, you might want to consider picking your battlefields a bit more discreetly next time.