Rules Haven't Stopped ESPN's Tweets


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↵It was just three weeks ago that the now famous ESPN Social Networking Guidelines made the rounds. A lot can happen in three weeks, and rules can be relaxed, as evidenced by Bill Simmons’s ↵recent takedowns of FoxSports.com columnist Charley Rosen and Oklahoma City sports radio blowhard Jim Traber. Not only did Simmons directly reference Rosen by ending his tweet "you ass," he went right at Traber with these ↵back-to-back barbs: ↵
↵⇥Note to unpopular, low-IQ sports radio bully/hosts in non-Top40 markets: I’d never come on your show to bring you attention. Ever. Not ever. ↵⇥
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↵⇥To clarify: unpopular low-IQ sports radio bully/hosts in Top40 markets are out for me as well obviously. Can’t stand that style. Can anyone? ↵
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↵Say what you want about Simmons’s podcast, and Traber did, but he’s definitely not a low-IQ sports radio bully. It’s interesting, though, that Simmons would take such direct shots at others in the industry, via Twitter. Let's revisit the rules sent out by ESPN, shall we? ↵

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↵Per ESPN: "Steer clear of engaging in dialogue that defends your work against those who challenge it and do not engage in media criticism or disparage colleagues or competitors." ↵

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↵Simmons is hardly the only offender of this rule. ↵

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↵Mark Schlereth, who coincidentally got into a heated spat with Chad Ochocinco on the same day these guidelines were sent out (with some suggesting his tete-a-tete prompted the memo to be distributed when it was), has been just as vocal as ever, getting into this exchange with Twitter user biloxijim, who Schlereth references in one post as Brett Favre’s cousin. These were sent in separate tweets, but with time stamping, we can reconstruct them into two separate paragraphs below: ↵

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↵⇥Biloxijim: 
@markschlereth You better block me Mark. I am going to let you have it. I am so sick of you dogging Brett. Its coming, be ready. I follow you and watch you on ESPN because I usually somewhat agree with you are way out of line with you take on brett favre. you said on ESPN that your issue with favre that he has falter at the end of the last few seasons which is completely wrong. He only faltered last season due to and injury. the season before they went 13-3 ...not a falter in my book. ↵⇥
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↵⇥You said way earlier the if was cool for Favre to come back only if it was not for revenge. Who cares why someone comes back. A woman would make a statement like that. He comes back if he wants to. PERIOD. I think that you had to step away before you were ready and it bugs you that at 40, Favre is still able to play. am I close? Brett Favre is one of if not THE Greatest QB to ever play in the NFL and he should do whatever makes him happy and you should drop it.
 ↵⇥
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↵⇥You can confiirm with any of my followers. I knew that Brett was coming back and I didn't agree with him missing camp but it is not me that has to live with his decisions. Its him and he should be able to make them as he sees fit without you breaking his balls at every turn. Favre is the man and the Vikes are a better team with him. You do agree with that right? 

I'll defend him to the bone so hit me with your best shot. ...but don't throw out false statements about him. 1:02 PM Aug 21st from web 

 ↵
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↵An unsolicited, nearly belligerent mess of a dozen or so posts in 14 minutes, so clearly, per the ESPN guidelines, Schlereth should "[a]ssume at all times you are representing ESPN" and "[e]xercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, business associates and our fans" and of course, "(s)teer clear of engaging in dialogue that defends your work against those who challenge it." ↵

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↵Stink’s reply: ↵

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↵⇥@biloxijim Favre can do what ever he wishes and he will 3 weekes ago he said he couldn't go through a 16 week schedule, now he can? why not jst come out and say I don't want to go to camp, ok I get it, at least your being honest, but no camps over I'm in! if you take off your purple colored shades and listen my real problem is with Childress lying to his team at every turn. things like that don't matter though right. ↵⇥
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↵⇥You learned in all you years of playing and coaching in the NFL? please wise sage continue to enlighten all with your wisdom because you know. 1:32 PM Aug 21st from UberTwitter in reply to biloxijim

 
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↵The exchange continued from there. It has to be difficult for people at ESPN now. They’ve long been in a sports fish bowl, gawked at by on-lookers who occasionally tapped the glass to get their attention. Now, the rules have changed. Thanks to Twitter, we can walk up to the bowl and jab them repeatedly with a stick. There’s not much they can do, really. That has to be the most difficult guideline to adhere to. It’s human nature to defend your position, so when challenges come flying in to your reply box -- and I’m sure I’ve been as guilty as anyone sending replies to illicit a response -- it’s hard to ignore it and just move on. ↵

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↵That doesn’t explain those who have ignored other rules. The Rookies recently did a post about Linda Cohn directing fans to cohnheads.com, which was a direct violation of the edict "[p]ersonal websites and blogs that contain sports content are not permitted."(She has since stopped promoting the site on Twitter.) ↵

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↵There are others at ESPN who seem to have Simmons-like autonomy when it comes to sending out tweets, and Jemele Hill is clearly one of them. As part of a Twitter meme ‘things you hear at a black barbershop’ Hill posted: ↵

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↵⇥RT @SportsandBoobs: Things u only hear at a #blackbarbershop: This my girl, ____(& ur talking to ur side piece on the phone @ the same time) ↵
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↵I’m sure ESPN is pleased their pundits are re-sending messages from SportsandBoobs. And that might not be the most questionable thing Hill has tweeted in the last few days, writing: ↵

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↵⇥Watching @OGOchoCinco on the last ep of Hard Knocks. I know waaay more athletes that smoke weed than drink alcohol. ↵
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↵I suppose ESPN is happy that she didn’t break the news of who’s on drugs on her Twitter feed, as that would violate the guideline, ‘[a]void discussing stories or features in progress, those that haven't been posted or produced, interviews you've conducted, or any future coverage plans.’ In other words, don’t break news on Twitter. ↵

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↵Questionable posts, from Hill, who is one of the best people to follow in Twitter by the way. But I guess you can’t fault her for replying to lurid Twitter handles, or fault her for intimating she knows specific athletes who use drugs as a way to interact with a subject -- albeit quite publicly on Ochocinco’s feed -- who may give her useful information in the future. ↵

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↵Then what was Michelle Beadle, co-host of SportsNation with Colin Cowherd, thinking when she replied to someone named Skip_Brainless asking her who was sexier, Jay Crawford or Cowherd: ↵

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↵⇥@ESPN_Michelle Who is sexier to u, Jay Crawford or Colin Cowherd ? ↵⇥
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↵⇥@Skip_Brainless.....now that's just a loaded question!! Colin's a stud!!! Jay ain't bad either... ↵
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↵Of course, Beadle is the same woman who, the day after ESPN put out the memo, posted: "Am I the only person that actually would want to know what it feels like to be kicked in the face?" So she may still be suffering from face-kicking post concussion syndrome. ↵

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↵There are thousands of ESPN personalities, and more and more are taking to Twitter, so it will be interesting to see if ESPN further relaxes their edicts, puts the kibosh on the whole thing, or lands somewhere in between. Rumors swirled that ESPN really only cared about breaking news on ESPN platforms instead of Twitter, and the rest of the guidelines were just window dressing. So maybe the higher-ups are more concerned about Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter breaking news on Twitter than the Sports Guy ripping shock jocks or an ESPN2 mid-day host wanting to get kicked in the face. ↵

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↵We do know this; Don Ohlmeyer didn’t know what he was getting into when he signed up to ombsuds (verb?) the Worldwide Leader. Twitter? TWITTER? This should be a fun few years. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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