Dan Leone was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles as the security chief for the west gate. Six years after getting an hourly wage job with his dream team, the Eagles fired Leone over his Facebook status.
See, the Eagles were unable to re-sign or unwilling to re-sign safety Brian Dawkins (I haven’t followed the situation to know what went on). Upon Dawkins signing with the Denver Broncos, Leone wrote the following Facebook status update: “Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver. . .Dam Eagles R Retarted!!”
So why am I blogging about this firing of a security person? How is it related to sports PR? Well, this story is simply a reminder to all of us interested in sports PR to be careful of what we post on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking websites. Unlike a lot of industries, it’s so easy to get caught up in sport as a fan. You may make an impulsive comment on one of those websites about a team decision and it could cost you that dream internship or job.
Leone said Vitagliano didn’t want to hear it. He said that she told him he couldn’t be trusted, that the post made the team look bad, and that the only way to resolve the situation was to fire him.
Whether you agree or disagree with the way the Eagles handled this situation, it’s important to understand that there are consequences to what you type online. I wouldn’t be surprised to see teams and companies in other industries start to create social media policies on what can or cannot be discussed on these platforms.
I gave a presentation on Twitter to my Comm class on Monday. One of the students who was already using Twitter mentioned that you need to be careful because once a tweet is out there, you can’t take it back. Sure, you can delete your tweet or a Facebook status update but people can read it before you delete it and even save a screenshot of it. So when using these different social networking platforms, exercise prudence with what you tweet. Be yourself, but consider the consequences of a tweet or status update before you post something. It could save you your job or internship.