In 2009, the NBA instituted a policy regarding twitter and other social media sites, banning players from using them before, during, and after games. No cell phones or other communication devices can be used within 45minutes before game time, and cannot be used until after players have completed their post game responsibilities. This rule applies to coaches, players, and other team basketball operations personnel, but also allows teams to create and enforce their own social media policies for practices and other team events. However, in light of this policy which has been around for about four to five years now, players continue to violate the policy and in turn continue to be fined by the league for their misconduct.
Perfect example of this infraction is demonstrated by J.R Smith of the New York Knicks, who has a social media track record for being fined by the league time and time again, such as being fined last year for a racy tweet. In his recent indiscretion, Smith was fined $25,000 for his back and forth exchange with Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Jennings on twitter. According to the league, he was penalized for “directing hostile and inappropriate language to another player via his twitter account”. Smith was reacting to the criticism Jennings was making about Smith’s brother Chris Smith, who also plays for the Knicks, by expressing that Chris Smith is in the NBA though Pooh, Jeter, and Bobby Brown aren’t. Thereafter, Smith responded with a few tweets, one of which was of a threatening nature towards Detroit.
Smith acknowledged always being in trouble with the league for engaging in twitter activity, but denies any bad intent towards Jennings because they had player together in the summer and had a good relationship. The guard did not believe his comments were a big deal, but understands that he had probably gone too far and had tried his best to stay off of twitter. Therefore, as you read through the article, some would say that he was a big brother merely defending his little brother from the ongoing criticisms. However, some may say he deserved his fine and that there is no place for such behavior and inappropriate language towards another player in the league. Consequently, do you think given Smith’s social media history that he should have received a bigger fine for his comments and violation, or should Jennings have also received a fine for his criticism of J.R’s brother which ultimately sparked the controversy.