I’ve said this in a few posts, in RB Developer Magazine, and when speaking at REAL World: Don’t say anything online that can harm your business image.
Take for example the latest flap in Kansas City over Larry Johnson’s Twitter posts. Full store here:
I’m not going to defend the guy since this isn’t exactly new territory for the troubled Kansas City Chiefs running back. In fact, I call him stupid for saying anything on Twitter about his coach, his team and teammates, or his host city. As a member of any organization you represent the organization that pays you – no matter what.
The fact is, regardless of your business (and playing football is a business), what you say in public, whether in be at a conference, in a restaurant or bar, on Facebook, MySpace and, yes, Twitter can be used against you. This is why you will NEVER see me talk about sex, politics, or religion because I know it will piss someone off (Even this post will most likely piss someone off but that’s the point!).
With me, I could lose a consulting client or two and maybe lose some software sales. I can move on. I can change careers or I can make amends to rehabilitate my image. A movie star, professional athlete or politician may not have that luxury and they may cost themselves a job and potentially millions of dollars in income.
Look, I know he’s human. We all make mistakes and say stupid things. I wish I had a dollar for every time I said something I’d like to take back. But I’m not a professional athlete, politician or have a super high profile position and salary. If I did, though, I’d be more circumspect in what I said especially if I knew the media was going to parrot what I said. There are certainly plenty of examples of high profile people using social media properly and not airing their dirty laundry for the world to see. Likewise there are high profile people in bad situations that keep their message positive.
In Johnson’s case he may have hurt his chances of every playing football again. I expect the management and coaching staff of the Kansas City Chiefs and their fans won’t mind at all if LJ sits out the rest of the season and ends his career sooner rather than later.
How many times will they take the verbal abuse from a player that has always been a problem child? LJ’s had more chances than most – mostly because of his athletic ability. I think he’ll learn the lesson the hard way – through his paycheck.