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Our sports stars need to be trained on social media etiquette

Thuso Palai
Social media has taken off like a house on fire. Nowadays people spend more time on social media and interact with people all over the world via social media.

The world has become very small because of the power, reach and popularity of social media. As much fun as it can be fun; social media can either make or break one; social media can be used for good or evil. Social media is very powerful and all should be careful when using it.

One would ask why I bring this up, but I have been rather disturbed by how some of our sporting heroes, who we all look up to, behave and interact on social media. Some have even gone to the extent of exchanging harsh, unpalatable unprintables on social media, all in the view of hordes of other social media audiences.

This is uncalled for and should not be the case. I do accept that our sporting heroes at times get so much under pressure that they can snap at every chance of provocation, but they should know better that their status in society does not allow them to play into the hands of non-entities who are hell bent on provoking them and ridiculing them. Their status does not allow them to stoop to the levels of unruly fans who have nothing to lose and just stand to gain 2 minutes of fame.

When a big name sportsman, or woman, exchanges profanities on social media with a provocative fan, all we tend to remember is what the sports star said. We do not care much about what the fan said to provoke, but due to the status of the sports star, we look to what he or she says. His or her response is the one that matters at the end of the day. Well; it is natural that one will react when provoked but, as a big name in society, they should be bigger than petty provocations and just ignore.

At times I get so disturbed when I log on o social media pages and find our sports stars on social media just hours or even minutes before their events. I’m not a professional sports coach or manager, but I would think being on social media

just before an all important event is a definite no-no.

For example, at times you would find Zebras players on social media an hour before a game and you tend to ask yourself what they are doing on social media at a time when they should be focussing on their events. What happens on social media at that time can actually affect how they will perform as some fans get nasty. Better you get to see those nasty comments after your event rather than before.

I know I run the risk of being accused of trying to curtail some civil liberties of these sports, but at the end of the day; exchanging and arguing with people who don’t know much about trade tends to get nasty. Surely NIjel Amos exchanging words with a non-entity like me over his trade will in most cases get to a point where I will have nothing to say and will instead resort to provocation. I do not condone such bad fan behaviour but it is quite difficult to stem. The onus is then on the athletes, as to how they respond.

As I mentioned before, social media can either make or break one, and our sports administrators have to ensure that our sporting heroes get some social media etiquette training. We don’t want to have situations like the ones we had recently when the likes of Amantle Montsho and Nijel Amos exchanged words with some excitable social media bullies who are hell bent on provoking.

The athletes should know better, and they should be helped and schooled on how to react to such. The younger athletes coming through the ranks need to know this from an early age that they cannot have Twitter and Facebook fights, make disparaging comments/posts or even post compromising pictures.

As much as it is their personal pages and their personal space, what they do and what they say will somehow be ‘news’ and worth talking about.  The best way to protect themselves is to be careful and very cautious of everything they do when on social media.

YoungManPal Uncut



And the gladiator found his beloved city in ruins

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