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How Social Media Can Get You Banned from Football Games

In case you missed the story from last weekend, a controversy broke after Sunday’s NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions involving a Detroit fan who was allegedly using a laser pointer to distract Buffalo players during key parts of the game. It turns out that this is a pretty serious offense, since the home team can incur penalties for the actions of their fans (the game was held in Detroit).

But using a laser pointer is almost impossible to detect right? How can teams control fans and prevent these kinds of behaviors? The task is a challenge to be sure, but it’s made a lot easier by fans bragging about their actions on social media. After making the offending laser show, the culprit posted to his Twitter account saying that he was responsible for any green dots you might see on Buffalo players. The tweet and Twitter account were deleted soon after, but it was already too late. The internet never forgets.

Reports surfaced yesterday that the Lions had caught the offender and banned him from their games, effectively reinforcing the lesson that has been around since the dawn of social media: be careful what you post. It might seem like a good idea, a funny joke or a great post at the time, but things posted to the internet are hard to take back, even if you delete them immediately.

For businesses, the implications are often far more serious than getting banned from your favorite football games. Brands can have hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line with every tweet, and when one wrong move can so easily destroy the value in an otherwise strong brand, it’s important to remember the lesson we’ve learned here.

Think before you tweet.


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