Blackpool's Jacob Murphy highlights need for online education
By Dan Brett (@DanBrett90)
Blackpool winger Jacob Murphy’s mindless social media act highlights a real issue in modern football.
Prior to the club’s match against Rotherham United on Saturday, the on-loan Norwich City man sent a Snapchat picture to his friends which was leaked across the internet.
The picture showed Murphy, alongside defender Donervon Daniels, smiling with the caption: “We are going to lose… Again”- an unprofessional act which has led to the club issuing a statement of apology from the player.
The document, published on the club’s website, highlighted Murphy’s sincere regret at the incident – clearing Daniels of any wrongdoing – but added that manager Lee Clark may take internal action against the midfielder.
It’s not the first time that a footballer’s actions on social media have landed them in hot water, especially in recent years with action taken against Mario Balotelli, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Chopra and Marvin Morgan, to name just a select few.
But who is at fault for such acts of idiocy? The players…? Yes, of course they are – but should football clubs be offering support to their professionals who choose to use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (and, of course, Snapchat) – and/or should clubs impose blanket-bans on the use of such websites?
Across England, in many football academies, players are not only taught the fundamentals of football, but also key skills away from football such as money management, dealing with racism and drugs.
So, is it time for football clubs to teach their stars, even from a young age, the do’s and do not’s of social media? Should organisations impose bans for all players from connecting with others on such sites or should the choice be left solely on the players to police their own conduct?
The internet can provide a positive connection between football club, player and supporter and, as seen a number of times since the advancement of social media, it can be an important tool of growth for professional clubs – either in terms of fan engagement, advertising and, also, increasing revenue.
But, more commonly, the good work of club engagement with fans can spill over to the negative (as seen by Jacob Murphy). An unfortunate act of ill-thinking from the midfielder has left the club with a headache to deal with.
Internet use is only going to get more frequent in coming years – we all use it, and it provides a clear, important bloodline for clubs to continue growing in the modern technological era.
However, unless those using platforms are made aware to the dangers (other than reading of errors such as Murphy and the other aforementioned), the road to PR headaches for club bosses will continue.