Social media’s affect on sports: pros and cons


Dion Lewis, Patriots running back, uses social media for questionable purposes.

By Zyad Ismael, Sports Writer

The impeccable rise of social media has affected many aspects of life and business, but the biggest impact has been on sports.

Everyone is connected through the internet. With a simple web connection, you can speak to people in Australia, Africa, and many other countries. This has brought many connections between families, friends, and between fans and athletes.

It’s hard to watch a sporting event without looking on Twitter or any other social media and seeing one thing about a big play in a game or the action of a player. There is gifs, memes, and vines (R.I.P vine) made minutes immediately after a play happened.

Some people make a living wage and all they do is post highlights from games and keep fans updated on team’s insight. Teams are putting more effort in building a fan base on social media and interacting with fans.  

For some coaches it has become an annoyance, it’s already hard on them to gameplan and figure out what’s good and bad for the team, nevertheless having to worry about their players posting something inappropriate, saying something wrong, or leaking their conversations on social media.

Jan. 15, 2017, at around 11:30 p.m., a Steelers wide receiver decided to start live-streaming their post game celebration, and let’s just say it wasn’t the wisest idea. In the 17 minute Facebook Live video, Antonio Brown is seen enjoying the win and partying with with his teammates until Mike Tomlin starts talking about the Patriots while displaying explicit language.

“Let’s say very little moving forward. Let’s start our preparations. We spotted those a****les a day and a half. They played yesterday, our game got moved to tonight. We gonna touch down at 4 o’clock in the fricking morning. So be it we’ll be ready for their butts.” Tomlin said.

The statement wasn’t the part that caught the attention of the media, it was that Antonio Brown streamed it to about 44,000 viewers. This happens a lot, it’s just a coach trying to fire his team up and get them ready for the next game. Nobody hears about it or sees it because things like that don’t get put out to the public and aren’t supposed to.

Brown was ripped by his teammates and coach, “it was foolish, selfish, and inconsiderate for Antonio Brown to do that,” Coach Tomlin said. Quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger said he was a little disappointed but not angry. Brown later issued an apology.

Situations like this happen often now that social media is such a huge part of life as there are 2.3 billion users in the world. Back before they had Twitter, Facebook, or social media, they didn’t encounter any of this.

Three-year starter at Fairmont, Andy Aracri, earned second team all-state honors after totaling 76 tackles, including 16 sacks leading Fairmont to 9-1 record and the league championship his senior year. He is one of the best Firebirds ever.

Aracri played football during the early 90’s and the technology back then was non-existent. “Personally, I’m glad we didn’t have it, there is enough stress on a person’s life let alone a young athlete’s life,” Aracari said “Personally I’m glad we just had telephones and beepers.”

Another negative effect of social media is it’s tendency to hinder actually enjoying and paying attention to the game.

“There is also an argument that it is taking away from sports, a lot of people were probably scrolling through their phone during the Superbowl, sometimes it can take away from the actual event,” Coach Rock said.

There was a reported 27.6M tweets with the hashtag #SB51, this was during the game, not after or before.

According to MindJumpers, in 2012, 83 percent of sports fans check social media to gain insight while watching the game at home, while 63 percent browse sports social media sites when they’re at the actual game.

This percentage has increased since social media has also been on the rise. In 2012, 56 percent of the U.S. population had a social media profile, 62 percent in 2013, 67 percent 2014, 73 percent in 2015 and 78 percent in 2016.

However, there is also an abundance of pros about social media. It allows athletes to share their opinion and to interact with fans. If a fan ever tried to get in contact with their favorite athlete, they have a really good chance of actually doing it.

Athletes can also use social media to raise awareness, or promote their brand, foundations, and charities. Social media is one of the loudest voices, when it comes to spreading the word on some causes, and athletes can quickly grab the attention of their huge following.

Many athletes promote their brand or their sponsors. According to Huffington Post, fans that follow their favorite athletes on social media are 55 percent more likely to purchase a brand if an athlete mentions it using Facebook or Twitter. Also, fans can try to reach out to athletes and ask them for favors.

10 year old, Erik Ortiz Cruz was born with a neurological disorder. He suffers up to 30 epileptic fits a day and the only solution was surgery. Unfortunately, the hospital bills racked up to about $6,000 and surgery would have been about $63,000, the family was unable to meet the massive bill.

Cristiano Ronaldo was asked to donate his boots and shirt to a fund raising auction held to help with the hospital bills. Generously, Ronaldo decided to reach out and pay the bill, and he donated $83,000 to pay for the whole operation.

To wrap it up, social media has it’s positives and negatives. It all comes down to if you’re mature enough to use it or have knowledge on its consequences, because once you hit that button, you can’t retract that statement.

“Social media is just another thing coaches and athletes have to constantly be stressed about, soon everyone will know it’s consequences and learn how to properly use it,” Aracri said.