The Baseball Observer Nov-Dec 2015 vol 5 - Page 41

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Some contest that the First Amendment (freedom of speech) protects them from what is said. That is true to a point. The First Amandment doesn't protect for the following (http://civil-rights.lawyers.com/)

If your behavior would be offensive

to a reasonable person and it would

have no value to society - the First

Amendment won't protect you.

If you tell lies about someone.

Slander occurs when you say untrue

things to others. Libel, by

comparison, occurs when you make

untrue statements in print or by

broadcast. Slander and libel are not

protected by the First Amendment.

You can't hurt people or incite

trouble. You can't abuse someone

verbally, or use words to rile a crowd

into doing something illegal.

Something posted may fall under the protection of free speech, but it doesn't mean it won't cause you to suffer other consequences.

CHARACTER

It comes down to CHARACTER. Coaches are looking at players that not only can play the game but represent the program in a positive light. Evey player on a team is a representative of that team. More and more college programs are looking at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts to evaluate a player's character. A single wrong comment/ post or image can cost a scholarship or end a college playing career.

Many colleges have official protocols (a system of social media monitoring) in place when considering a prospect - whether it's a coach, the compliance department or a private company. Some baseball programs like TCU and Cumberland County College don't have an "official" system but they do keep an eye on a prospect’s social media.

One coach, who wished to remain anonymous, said “If a prospect has a social media nickname or something on their Twitter / Facebook account that is questionable, I'm not going to recruit them.” He continued by stating that he has “…turned down players based on their Twitter handles and Twitter or Facebook pictures and posts.

Even if a post doesn't seem "bad" to the writer, the problem with print is that the reader can't really tell inflection, tone or context. Remember, just because you didn't "really mean it that way" someone who doesn't know you probably won't know that so don't assume they will.

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