>Tackling Athletes and Social Media


There are many athletes on twitter and the open filter that twitter allows can increase their brand and give their fans further insight into who they are off the court or playing field, but it can also tarnish their image. 
A true benefit of twitter can be raising awareness for ones personal foundation or charity, letting fans know what movies, music, or restaurants they like or describing the places that they travel in the offseason.  Various players on New York teams use twitter is a positive way to inform fans about their lives, interact with people that they choose, in addition to promoting their worthwhile foundations. 
Athletes should be able to speak their minds and what is going on within reason and some of the local ones to be highlighted are Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera, Russell Martin, Landry Fields, Amar’e Stoudemire, Roger Mason Jr. and Mark Sanchez.  This is because they don’t post anything to controversial and realize that everybody, including ESPN and the rest of the media, can see what they are tweeting. 
Recently Sanchez has been conducting his second annual JETS West camp at his high school in Mission Viejo, California.  This year the training out west is even more crucial because the NFL is in a lockout again and players are unable to train and their teams facilities.  Some of the Jets that have participated include Mark Brunell, Kevin O’Connell, Dustin Keller, Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith, Patrick Turner, Jeff Comberland, John Conner and Joe McKnight.  He has given followers access to what they have been eating (In-N-Out Burger among others) as well as pictures and videos of their training.  They have been watching film at the high school and they have even been holding contests for fans.  He has designed JETS West T-Shirts and said that the proceeds would go to charity.  Sanchez is getting in much needed off season repetitions with his receivers and running backs while giving to charity in the process.
Another player that has giving back to the community on his mind is the Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson.  He tweets updates on his Grand Kids Foundation to let followers know what he is doing to help the community.  He deserves praise for donating 300 bats to the New York Public School Athletic League, half wood for baseball, and half aluminum for softball, that the schools teams desperately need.  He also gave followers the opportunity to support his Grand Kids Foundation during the New York City Marathon.  He has posted pictures of himself practicing as well as stating notable achievements of African Americans during Black History Month.
Landry Fields did not have a lot of followers at the beginning of the year but once he started to prove himself in summer league, and was named a starter to begin the season he began to get many more.  He was a fan favorite this season for his fundamental play since he is able to succeed at many facets of the game.  His “Andy and Landry Show” brought many laughs, and he updated followers on different restaurants he was trying as well as how he was adapting to life in New York and being a rookie in the NBA.  Fields has even done creative contests where fans can win prizes.  He has been successful at not being controversial on twitter while informing followers of what is going on in his life.  
Yankees first baseman Teixeira recently joined twitter, and he largely uses it as a way to promote his foundation, Dreamteam25.  He partnered with the Harlem RBI association and made a sizable donation to benefit the kids.  Teixeira also let fans know that they have extra incentive to make a small donation to his foundation because they would have a chance to win a lunch TEX, a behind the scenes tour of Yankees Stadium, watching the game from a luxury box and other benefits.  Russell Martin took about an hour out of his off day, about two weeks ago, to answer questions from fans.  
Mason Jr. has used his twitter account to promote his foundation “The Roger Mason Jr. Foundation” as well as giving predictions on the playoffs and asking for museum suggestions from his followers.    He has successfully furthered his brand because he has interacted with fans while also staying away from controversial issues.  Stoudemire has promoted his recent sponsorship deals, TV appearances and even gave his followers a sneak peek into his trip to Israel last summer.
Overall, it is important, in this era of increased media scrutiny, that athletes realize that the world has access to what they post on twitter.  They should have the freedom to post what they want because it is unfiltered and a way to let their true personality out, but they shouldn’t touch on many offensive subjects that would ruin their image like Reshard Mendenhall did. Mendenhall, lost his sponsorship with Champion because he tweeted, among other things that he has “a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style”.  He posted this after the news of Bin Laden’s death was announced.  He should think twice before posting something controversial and insensitive like this.
It would not make sense to teams or certain athletes from using twitter because it can be a beneficial tool, but they should learn what is appropriate to post and what is not.  Some athletes don’t display any opinion, so at least here he was speaking what was on his mind, but I think next time he will learn to keep this to himself.  

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