Twitter, like death and taxes is sort like the "great leveler." Sport
figures, celebs and the average Joe's of this world can all co-exist in
an environment as equals and communicate with each other in a
non-threatening and open way. Well, maybe not at the US Open?
Social media has allowed sports fans a conduit to their favorite athletes in a way that on-air broadcasts, autograph-signings, and guest appearances could never do.
However the immediacy of this real-time contact with one's fave player has prompted the NFL and sporting events in general to take a closer look at tweeting and how it might provide an unfair advantage to the opposing team. In turn, the US Open officials have warned players to be careful that their use of Twitter during the Grand Slam tennis tournament doesn't violate the sport's rules against passing along insider information.
In the case of the US Open, one has to wonder how one player's tweets could possibly put him or her in a vulnerable position on the courts? But then again, loose tweets have been known to sink fleets. And a slip of the thumb, like the tongue might just expose TMI.
Perhaps the answer can be found in a couple of tweets from Andy Roddick who has more than 100,000 followers at the present time on the micoblogging network.
In a tweet posted at 10:21 AM on August 28, 2009, he voices his concern with the US Open's position on the tweeting issue.
Which is then followed up by another tweeted 7 minutes later that pointed to the absurdity of it all. After all, who would be that stupid to release some inside Intel on one's condition to his opponent...
Well, as we can see Andy didn't tip his hand (or backhand for that matter). No mention of heat fatigue, mental exhaustion or a strung hamstring. A subsequent YouTube video reinforced his displeasure with the issue.
According to a Mashable report, "unlike the SEC ban of social media from college stadiums, which was later revised, the US Open doesn’t seem to be taking a stance against fan involvement and content sharing via social media. In fact, the official website even includes a fan zone, and links to their official Twitter account and Facebook Page."
The International Tennis Foundation authorities have warned players not to tweet about their on-court activity during the US Open, per the Telegraph, or risk violating the sport’s anti-corruption rules. The concern is that players’ tweets about things like the weather, how they’re feeling, or how rivals’ matches are faring could serve as “inside information” for tennis gamblers.
Well, to tweet or not to tweet, I don't think the US Open has a strong case in enforcing ITF's position. And there appears to be one lady who is still totally oblivious to the issue, as she just keeps tweeting along! You go girl!