Social Media and Sports Figures

lebron-barkleyDoes anyone ever wonder why our leaders in sports can seem so limited in what they say on their platforms? From criticism of the public to the analysts that try and dissect their tweets & statements for proper context and meaning once some controversy comes up. This media stems from press conferences, social medias, pre-games and post games all of which our athletes must maintain a certain image of respect and humanity. Lately I can only think of the recent spat between LeBron James and Charles Barkley that has left many people to truly speculate what exactly is a personal attack. If you were to ask me I felt that Charles did nothing except call out LeBron on his game rather than his character which includes his level of competitive spirit. Barkley states “Does he want all of the good players? He don’t want to compete?”. This is the comment that sparked a flurry of personal attacks from the King. LeBron tells ESPN “I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that; I’m not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, ‘I’m not a role model.’ I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying. All I’ve done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way. Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game. Print that.”. Very strong statement from the best player in the NBA and also a sign of irritation getting the best of him. I personally think LeBron was wrong to take to the media to attack another man’s legacy who only criticized him for his game. However people like Shaquille O’Neal of NBA on TNT and Shannon Sharpe of Undisputed disagree. With names like those it makes my little opinion not seem so important. But this is an ongoing conversation worth having in my opinion. Do you feel like this was an out of line reaction from LeBron to the public media? Can athletes maintain a level of professionalism in this new age of social media and the negativity that stems from opinions?



To see what was said click here: LeBron’s vengeful remarks to Sir Charles

Image: LeBron vs Barkley?

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism