Partner Miles M. Cooley authored the Sports Litigation Alert article “Social Media: The Wild, Wild West of Sports & How Athletes Can Avoid Its Pitfalls,” discussing how social media’s proliferation has affected the sports industry and athletes, both on and off the field.
Many collegiate and professional athletes have multiple social media accounts, rendering them susceptible to misconduct. Athletes are drawn to social media for the same reason the rest of the world is—it provides an unparalleled level of connectivity and instantaneous interaction with others.
However, an athlete’s social media usage can positively or adversely impact their career depending on how it is used. Teams and associations have implemented social media background screenings and will stop pursing a prospective recruit if inappropriate conduct is discovered. Additionally, an athlete’s imprudent behavior on social media can subject them to fines, suspension and expulsion, or even loss of endorsement deals. Conversely, if used properly, social media can help develop an athlete’s personal brand.