The Broncos are turning Will Parks’ social media blunder into a teachable moment. Last week, Parks posted a video of the Broncos practicing two plays to his Snapchat story. Parks said he meant no harm, but the video broke protocol and also incited some questions about second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch, who threw incomplete passes on both plays.
These social media gaffes don’t happen all the time in sports, but they happen often enough that it’s become a thing. In 2012, the Broncos had a similar issue when linebacker D.J. Williams tweeted images of the Denver playbook. Outside of Denver, we also saw Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown get into hot water last season for broadcasting a Facebook Live video of coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots “assholes.”
Being a professional athlete in 2017 is clearly very different from the experiences of even a few years ago. Here’s what Broncos coach Vance Joseph had to say about educating his team on social media conduct, from ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold:
“Social media is different than what I grew up around,” said Broncos coach Vance Joseph. “It’s their everyday lives. Sometimes, they fall into the trap of it being a normal deal, but this is work. This is a workplace. We can’t share what we’re doing here to the outside world, so to speak.”
“We spend a lot of time with our players as far as education about social media,” Joseph said. “They’re like your kids. You have to constantly remind them about the dangers of innocent behavior. Again, (Parks’) intent wasn’t to hurt us or to hurt his teammate, it was to show he was working hard. I buy that.”
There’s a good variety of player opinions in the ESPN article. Running back Jamaal Charles, who is a somewhat older fella at 30 years of age, said he never uses social media and advises young players to stay off of the various platforms. Linebacker Von Miller is at the other end of the spectrum:
Broncos linebacker Von Miller is one of the team’s most active players on social media, and can often be spotted in the locker room taking a look at what’s trending. Miller said he sees plenty of benefits to participating in social media.
“I just like it,” Miller said. “You connect with people out there, let people know what’s going on. … I think people use it so much, you kind of have to be part of it. You have to do it right, but it’s part of the way things are.”
Always remember the first rule about social media: never post.