x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Players told they can tweet, but not on their team's time

The NFL say they will allow players to use social media networks this season, but not during games.

The Cincinnati Bengals' signing of Andre Smith was announced prematurely on Twitter.
The Cincinnati Bengals' signing of Andre Smith was announced prematurely on Twitter.

Tweet away, guys. Just save it for before and after the games. The NFL said on Monday that they will allow players to use social media networks this season, but not during games. Players, coaches and football operations personnel can use Twitter, Facebook and other social media up to 90 minutes before kick-off, and after the game following media interviews.

During games, no updates will be permitted by the individual or anyone representing him on his personal Twitter, Facebook or any other social media account, the league said. The use of social media by NFL game officials and officiating department personnel will be prohibited at all times. The league, which has always barred play-by-play descriptions of games in progress, extended that ban to social media platforms. Earlier this summer, San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie was fined US$2,500 (Dh9,192) by the team for criticising the food service at training camp on Twitter.

The Miami Dolphins imposed restrictions on players, reporters and even spectators at their training camp, and several other teams also set up some restrictions on practice fields. But NFL players have embraced the network to the point that some announce news by tweeting, among them the New Orleans Saints rookie cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. He sent out word of his signing with the team on Twitter. The Cincinnati Bengals sent out first official word of first-round draft pick Andre Smith's signing on Sunday on a tweet on their website.

That came one day after the Cincinnati Bengals' receiver Chad Ochocinco sent out a tweet saying Smith had signed, which was wrong. So Smith's agent, Alvin Keels, sent out a tweet saying the report was incorrect. "The growth of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook has created important new ways for the NFL and clubs to communicate and connect with fans," the league said in a statement. "The NFL ... will continue to emphasise innovative and appropriate use of these new forms of communication." The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, tweeted from the draft in April. Other leagues have not issued formal policies on social media.

* AP