4 Social Media Gaffes From Athletes and How to Fix Them

Since this is my last blog post, I thought I would keep things light. Who doesn’t like feeling better about themselves by seeing the hiccups of others every now and again? That feeling seems to be enhanced tenfold when the hiccups come from our favourite celebrities.

So, below I’ve listed four of my favourite athlete-related lighthearted social media screw ups and, since making light of others’ situations doesn’t exactly qualify as a learning experience, how they could have been remedied.

Marketing Gone Wrong

We’ve learned throughout the course about the importance of social media as it relates to marketing (whether it’s personal branding, enticing people to buy a product or service, etc.). Here we have a couple of examples of how not to do marketing and sponsorship in the social media age.

The gaffe: NBA draft pick Markelle Fultz posts an unedited template of a tweet about how happy he is to be going to (enter city here). Let’s hope this was the work of Fultz’s social media team because this was a pretty embarrassing and easily avoidable situation that there really isn’t any excuse for.

Markelle Fultz Instagram post

NBA draft pick Markelle Fultz’s draft-day Instagram gaffe

The solution: One word – proofread. In the post, rather than specifying which city Fultz would be playing in and for which team he would be playing, the caption included (city name) and (team name) instead, showing the importance of double- and triple-checking content before it goes out.

In fairness, the rush to get the Instagram post out was probably motivated by the sponsor, Tissot, wanting it to get out ASAP. The post got a lot of buzz so it probably all worked out, but putting out an incomplete post isn’t the best route to take.

The gaffe: NFL player Desean Jackson provides a peek behind the curtain of how promotional tweets in sports actually work. In advance of the ESPYS award show, Jackson tweeted what appeared to be a request from a sponsor, NOKIA, to tweet about how much he was enjoying himself at a NOKIA-sponsored pre-party.

Desean Jackson tweet

A “mistake” tweet by Desean Jackson that received a lot of buzz.

The solution: Again, pretty simple – proofread. Whether or not it was Jackson himself who tweeted it (my gut says a member of his team is to blame), it’s a very avoidable mistake. Still, the humour of the tweet apparently worked in Jackson’s favour as it generated a lot of buzz.

So perhaps I’m wrong and posting content not yet ready for public viewing is actually the way to go if you want to get a lot of attention.

Personal vs Private

The more common mistake made by celebrities and average joes alike is letting your personal life bleed onto your social accounts. In the below two examples, the results were hilarious (well, maybe not for the guys who made the posts.

The gaffe: Lance Armstrong puts his cell number on Twitter. This was likely a result of some confusion between thinking he was sending a private message but instead posting a tweet for public viewing, but it doesn’t make it any less funny.

The solution: Maybe don’t just give your phone number away willy-nilly on social media (or, if you do, don’t do it on your public account that has millions of followers). Even through direct/private messaging, though, there’s always the chance of getting burned by one of the biggest risks of social media – that anything can be leaked.

Maybe next time Armstrong can use the resources at his disposal (agents, PR reps, etc.) to get contact info privately.

Lance Armstrong tweet

Lace Armstrong slips up and posts his cell number to Twitter

The gaffe: Draymond Green posts a dick pic. Not really any other way to say it than that – one of the perils of living in the Snapchat age. Given the often…promiscuous use of Snapchat, it’s not surprising that this would happen, it’s surprising it hasn’t happened more often.

The solution: It sounds pretty simple but apparently it bears repeating that if you’re a celebrity, you should probably avoid taking pictures of your genitalia when you’re using any kind of social media. Whether or not celebrities choose to send those types of images is entirely their prerogative, but maybe save it for texting.

Or, the much simpler solution: don’t take dick pics.

Do you have any favourite social media gaffes to share? I’d love to hear them!

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Promo for Twitter: Rember when Lance Armstrong gave his cell # to all of Twitter? He’s not the only athlete to trip up on social media http://wp.me/p3QRy0-gPshttp://wp.me/p3QRy0-gPs

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2 thoughts on “4 Social Media Gaffes From Athletes and How to Fix Them

  1. A great read and laugh, thanks Andrew! With everything needing to be on social media as close to real-time as possible, it’s not surprising gaffes like these happen. Plus, we are often posting from our phones and in social settings – things can get messy. Sometimes it’s like accidentally hitting “reply all” on an email… but to a much larger audience!

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