As much as the NBA embraces social media, it appears as though it has reached a breaking point when it comes to how much freedom its teams and players should have. The league looks to clamp down on what the league's deputy commissioner calls "Twitter wars."
According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams on Thursday warning them about the "inappropriate use of social media" and how it can "damage the reputation of the NBA, its team and its players." The league flagged disparaging, mimicking, belittling, embarrassing and impersonating opponents or officials as inappropriate material – as well as criticizing officiating or the NBA officiating program – in an effort to prevent future controversy.
"We want teams to be aware of the NBA's rules with respect to the use of social media by teams," wrote NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum. "As with in-game entertainment, teams are prohibited from mocking and/or ridiculing opponents (including teams, players, team personnel (including owners) and opponents' home cities) and game officials on social media in any form, including through statements, pictures or videos."
The incident many have cited as prompting the league to take action is when the Portland Trail Blazers mocked Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons for airballing a 3-point attempt in their matchup in January. Parsons responded by wishing the Trail Blazers "good luck in the lottery show" after the game, which prompted Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum to tweet: "We hit the lottery by not signing you."
To be fair, the NBA 3-point line is really, really far away from the basket. pic.twitter.com/dHusI9cHcW— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 28, 2017
We hit the lottery by not signing you https://t.co/eSiBaNT061— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) January 28, 2017
The league has dealt with social media issues in the past. In 2015, the Houston Rockets fired their social media manager for a tweet aimed at the Dallas Mavericks and a Los Angeles Clippers employee was "disciplined" for making fun of the Grizzlies losing to the Golden State Warriors by 50 points. Not it's just too bad the league can't do anything about New York Knicks president Phil Jackson's tweets, even if his wildly cryptic messages about Carmelo Anthony are just "misunderstood."