There has been a lot of discussion this week regarding the Kansas City Chiefs releasing their once-upon-a-time star running back, Larry Johnson.  Did they release Johnson because he has not done anything special for the team in quite some time?  Probably.  But did his recent Twitter outburst have anything at all to do with it?  I’d assume it played some sort of role, or at least made it much easier for management to give him the pink slip.  larry johnsonLJ insulted his coach and then resorted to using some pretty foul language in a back-and-forth conversation (if you can even call it that) with some others on Twitter.

Larry Johnson is not the only athlete who needs a lesson on social media best practices.  There are many others who have the potential of being in his shoes, or worse, in the future.  It is very easy to write a 140 character (or less) message and click send, immediately blasting those words to the world.  That is why it is so important for athletes and their agents to be very careful in implementing a solid social media policy.  Speaking of agents…

Agents also have to be careful about what they tweet.  Their words do not only reflect on their own image, but affect their clients as well.  If an agent is posting controversial tweets, it could affect the way that others perceive him and his clients.  Agents are known to frequently tweet about their clients (as a side note, we are putting together a master list of sports agents on Twitter.  Follow that list by clicking here.), but rarely do you see an agent talking bad about another person’s clients.  Especially when the player is a direct competitor of your client.  It just seems like a bad practice.

walshA few days ago, though, Allan Walsh (@walsha) did just that.  The hockey agent for Octagon who represents Montreal Canadians goalie, Jaroslav Halak, tweeted:

“Interesting stat of the night….Price is 10W, 32L in last 42 starts. Hmm.”

Walsh was referring to starting goaltender, Carey Price.  The tweet has been deleted from Walsh’s account since the it was covered by various media outlets.  It is not that Walsh is right or wrong about his statement, and he is definitely entitled to his opinion, but perhaps it is better that he keep that opinion to his close friends and not share it with the world on Twitter.  It got Walsh a lot of publicity, but that is not our goal as agents; it is doing the best for our clients.  Does the tweet help out Halak at all?

Walsh responded to the criticism he received from the tweet with the following statement:

“It was a tongue in cheek comment not meant to be taken seriously, forgot it was Montreal and everyone loses a sense of humor.”

I tweet about athletes who are not my clients, and sometimes I may even make jokes about them.  But I have never written a bad tweet about a direct competitor of one of my clients.  For instance, I would not tweet about how poorly another reliever was doing on the AAA Memphis Redbirds squad while Pete Parise was the closer.  That type of discussion is better reserved for talks behind closed doors with management.  The point will still be heard by the other side of the table, without the additional public embarrassment for all parties.