British Athletes Are Getting A Refresher Course In Avoiding The Tabloids
British athletes have ample reason to want nothing to do with national tabloids, but in case seeing the tabloid phone-hacking scandal play itself out isn't enough incentive to be wary of some of England's shadier publications, the British Olympic Association is taking matters into its own hands.
Warning that tabloid stories "by their very nature are usually linked to a scandal," the BOA's "Athletes' Guide to Dealing With the Media" additionally says that generally, a tabloid reporter "does not care if he/she treads on any toes to find a lead." Of course, complete silence isn't necessarily the best strategy either:
"If you're not willing to give your views then someone may make up your views for you."
Of course, we all know one of the easiest ways for any public figure to get him/herself in trouble with such media outlets, so you won't be surprised to know that athlete tweets will be under the strictest of supervision:
People will be assigned to watch what their athletes are posting on social networking sites. Criticizing officials is on the banned list as well as obscene language.
"They know the parameters," said David Faulkner, the British hockey team's performance director. "If they break the rules, they will come in for disciplinary action."
Of course, one might argue that having tweet monitors is equally as Big-Brother-esque as tabloid media hounding the athletes' every move. Encouraging them to exercise caution, though, is just common sense - so much so that no less than Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, expressly recommends that athletes "think first, tweet later."
We imagine a good number of Britain's athletes were already well aware of the tabloids' presence, and know well enough to be careful around them...not to mention they've already seen pretty much the perfect example of how not to handle being at the center of a tabloid controversy. In fact, Rick Chandler at Off The Bench thinks the rules and regulations might go overboard, saying the BOA "sure know[s] how to take the fun out of sports." His headline illustrates that feeling:
UK athletes warned to keep hands, feet away from British tabloid press at all times
We'd have one thing to add to that headline, though - after all, we know which body part athletes should make really sure the tabloids never see.
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