NFL Throws Flag on Ochocinco’s Twitter Plan

RefThrowingFlag.jpgThe National Football League just tackled Chad Ochocinco’s ambitious plan to tweet during games via a contest winner short of the first down.

The league released its guidelines on social media, with one paragraph in particular seemingly aimed squarely toward the artist formerly known as Chad Johnson: “No updates are permitted to be posted by the individual himself or anyone representing him during this prohibited time on his personal Twitter, Facebook or any other social-media account.”

The NFL was supportive of the use of Twitter, Facebook and other social-media tools up to 90 minutes before kickoff and following games, but it prohibits those actions by NFL game officials and officiating department personnel. The league also encouraged anyone who feels their identity is being compromised with a fake social-media account to contact its security department.


The league’s complete social-media statement follows:

The NFL informed clubs today that coaches, players and football-operations personnel are permitted under league policy and with club permission to use social media on game day during specific time periods before and after games.

League policy allows for the use of social media or networking sites (including Twitter and Facebook) by players, coaches and football-operations personnel up to 90 minutes before kickoff and after the game following media interviews.

The use of these sites by these individuals is not permitted during the game, including halftime. No updates are permitted to be posted by the individual himself or anyone representing him during this prohibited time on his personal Twitter, Facebook or any other social media account.

The use of social media by NFL game officials and officiating-department personnel is prohibited at any time.

Longstanding policies prohibiting play-by-play descriptions of NFL games in progress apply fully to Twitter and other social-media platforms. Internet sites may not post detailed information that approximates play-by-play during a game. While a game is in progress, any forms of accounts of the game must be sufficiently time-delayed and limited in amount (e.g., score updates with detail given only in quarterly game updates) so that the accredited organization’s game coverage cannot be used as a substitute for, or otherwise approximate, authorized play-by-play accounts.

Any use of social media during games by the public-relations or Website staff on an official club platform must be consistent with the play-by-play policy described above.

The NFL’s security department has been successful assisting players in removing fake sites on Facebook and Twitter. Players or other NFL employees who believe they are victims of identity theft by people impersonating them on social-media sites are advised to contact the NFL’s security department.

The growth of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook has created important new ways for the NFL and clubs to communicate and connect with fans. The NFL has been at the forefront of the use of new media and will continue to emphasize innovative and appropriate use of these new forms of communication.