Social Networking

Clients on Social Networking Sites

Should you allow your client to have a profile on Facebook, Myspace, insert any other social networking site here?

If you ask Scott Schafer, currently playing for the rookie level Gulf Coast Mets, he would say no. That is because the information that he had on his MySpace page led him to get dropped by his agent, Matt Sosnick, and receive a smaller amount of money in his contract. Ask Eddie Kenney and Matt Coenen, swimmers kicked off the team at LSU for disparaging comments about their coach on Facebook, and they will probably tell you it is not worth the pain either.

At my school, the University of Florida, we are known as a drinking school with a football problem. Sure, we just won the NCAA Basketball National Championship, but it is football that makes the city of Gainesville live. With that being said, if you start on the Florida Gators football team, you have a good chance of going pro. You would think that no player on the team would be stupid enough to post a picture on Facebook like this (I will leave the player’s name out of the discussion out of respect). The fact that it is posted under the heading of “robbing” only makes it worse.

With websites like Drunk Athlete, athletes do not even need to create profiles on social networks to receive a bad image. The website posts pictures taken by average people who catch athletes partying, and often wasted out of their mind. As long as people are interested in viewing the pictures and digging dirt on athletes, these types of sites will continue to grow, leaving no security in a player’s public life. But athletes still can do some damage control. Creating a profile on a social networking site that damages one’s image is just plain stupid, and something that should be warned against by friends, family, and agent.

You did?Even though having a profile on a social networking site can have serious adverse effects on one’s public image, creating a profile may be a smart PR move when good judgment is used. Any opinions??

Thanks to Kevin Gold of for the post idea.

[tags]facebook, myspace, athletes, profiles, uf, lsu[/tags]

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

7 replies on “Clients on Social Networking Sites”

[…] After creating the “Social Networking” category on this website, I was wondering if I would ever have a 2nd post on the subject after this general post about Clients on Social Networking Sites.  Jeremy Barfield has finally given me a second post on the subject…although the story is terrible.  After pushing his dad (ex Toronto Blue Jay, Jesse Barfield) down the stairs of his house, Jeremy Barfield decided to discuss the whole situation on MySpace [Younger Barfield Tells His Story (On Myspace, Of Course)]. […]

Abolute MUST if the athlete has attained a certain maturity level! Entertainers have caught this wave before athletes – it is commonplace for an entertainer’s manager or agent to maintain his / her social networking profiles.

A well-done social networking campaign will do wonders for an athlete, particuliiarly if that athlete is low or mid profile and wants to increase goodwill and visibility.

That’s a well done page, Darren. If the polls are maintained and refreshed, it will have a higher interactivity level than most other fan pages.

Another athlete that has a tight online social networking presence is UFC Fighter Kenny “Ken Flo” Florian.

Fan Page:

He also has a great personal page. I believe that his brother assists him in keeping the pages looking great and up to date.

With Facebook and Twitter (and Social Networking in general) exploding the way it is, there is no better time for professional athletes to utilize the power of these sites. The ability to personally create and effect your own brand and image is both powerful and unique. People will talk about you, why not direct the conversations by reaching out to fans where they already are. 175 Million and counting…thats the number of ACTIVE Facebook Users. Don’t think its important? Search your favorite athlete on Facebook. You will find a page, but the vast majority of these pages are impostors. Do athletes realize people are representing them without consent? Eli Manning’s Impostor Fan Page had a post directly from “Eli” that dealt with the Plaxico situation last season. Bad punctuation, spelling mistakes, and most of all, a response that was certainly NOT aligned with the way Eli, the Giants, and the NFL would want to handle the situation.

Greater control over Public Relations is just one of the many benefits Social Networking offers. If done correctly, Facebook can offer some extremely unique marketing opportunities that cannot be found elsewhere. Imagine a page with 10,000 fans. One click lets you mass-message ALL of those fans at once. At the same time, you can have 1-on-1 conversations with fans. Every fan wants to get as close as possible to their favorite athletes. Interact on a personal level and expect fan loyalty to increase greatly.

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