The ancient art of trash talk, or micturition in your opponent’s breakfast cereal, naturally thrives on social media sites like Twitter, which are purpose-built for the airing of petty grievances and juvenile insults. However, the NBA, humorless as ever, is looking to curb these “Twitter wars” between players by reining in teams’ social-media accounts.
Following some particularly trashy Twitter talk by two players from the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies, the NBA has issued a memo with rules forbidding the posting of any social media content “mocking and/or ridiculing” other teams or game officials with team accounts.
The prohibition extends to easy targets like owners and home cities; it includes postings in text, pictures or video.
NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum noted: “Recently, social media postings (e.g., on Twitter) by some teams have crossed the line between appropriate and inappropriate. In addition to other concerns, such conduct by teams can result in ‘Twitter wars’ between players that can cause further reputational damage and subject players to discipline by the League.”
The memo further specified that “teams should never disparagingly or negatively refer to an opponent's or game official's personal life, family, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or any other status or characteristic protected by law."
In addition, "teams are also prohibited from using social media to highlight or encourage player altercations, flagrant fouls or hard physical contact between players, or to condone or make light of violence in any way or form.”
The memo was prompted by a Twitter exchange between Chandler Parsons of the Grizzlies and C.J. McCollum of the Trail Blazers.
During a January 27 game that ended in a 112-109 win for the Trail Blazers, the Blazers official account posted a gif of Parsons missing a 3-point shot with some mild mockery, noting, “To be fair, the NBA 3-point line is really, really far away from the basket.”
That wasn’t the end, however, as the players’ personal Twitter accounts got into it. Parsons tweeted back to the Trail Blazers “good luck in the lottery show this year,” a dig at the team’s 23-31 game record so far.
Things continued to escalate as the Blazers’ CJ McCollum responded with a rather nasty tweet to Parsons, who has contended with injuries recently: “We hit the lottery by not signing you.”
Parsons responded with a boastful reference to his $107 million contract with the Grizzlies: “Stop it. Technically, I hit the lottery.”Blazers CEO and president later apologized to Parsons on behalf of the team, but Parsons dismissed the entire episode: “It’s all in good fun. No hard feelings!”