A spontaneous decision to post one’s thoughts can backfire in an instant, but think of the backfire that can ensue for athletes with thousands of followers. History is clear evidence of the damage a simple “tweet” can cause to an athlete’s reputation.
“What kind of person celebrates death?”
This seems like a perfectly legitimate comment, but tweeting this in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death? Probably not the best decision. And it wasn’t.
Rashard Mendenhall’s comment not only received heavy criticism from the public, but Champion, an athletic clothing company, dropped the Pittsburg Steeler running back as an endorser.
Mendenhall isn’t the only athlete to suffer damage due to a Twitter post. The social media site has caused so many headaches for organizations that several NFL teams have held social media related meetings in the hopes that their athletes will “think before they tweet.”
Tweeting those damaging posts are all the more likely as more and more athletes are using their mobile devices to post those instantaneous thoughts. Mobile Analytics show that Twitter posts via mobile devices are up with every passing month, which is sure to worry the heads of sporting organizations around the globe.
While Twitter has caused a number of issues for athletes, it’s also been a blessing for many athletes as they have used the social media site to their advantage. Twitter has been utilized to promote not only athletes and their team, but also to spread the word for causes they care about.
Here are a few athletes who have certainly used their Twitter pages to their advantage. This is a list of the top five most popular athlete Twitter pages:
5) Tony Hawk – 2.5 M Followers
The professional skateboarder has racked up nearly two and half million followers as fellow Twitter users can stay up to date on all his latest skating events and, if interested, dining adventures.
4) Lance Armstrong – 3M Followers
The record breaking Tour de France champion ranks in at number four with nearly three million followers. The cancer survivor uses his page to not only let followers stay updated on his latest rides, but also as a way to promote his Livestrong Foundation. Armstrong’s profile is a great example of an athlete using their Twitter page as a way to promote a great cause.
3) Cristiano Ronaldo – 3.5M Followers
This household name for Real Madrid brings in nearly three and half million followers. You won’t find any controversial posts from this guy as Ronaldo’s page is filled with friendly reminders about upcoming matches and gracious thank yous to all of his supportive fans.
2) Shaquille O’ Neal – 4M+ Followers
There’s a reason why this man has over four million followers. Even in the early stages of his retirement, the former NBA star is just as entertaining as ever. The very quotable O’Neil gives followers an endless supply of memorable posts.
1) Kaka – 5M+ Followers
I’m not exactly fluent in Spanish so I’m not quite sure what the Real Madrid superstar is saying in his posts, but whatever it is people are sure listening. With over five million followers, Kaka is currently the most followed athlete on Twitter as his popularity on the social media site is just another example of soccer’s global dominance.
Thomas Stone is a contributing author at pompomsandcigars.com