NBA announces social media policy

If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting with bated breath for the NBA to finally announce its social media policy for the 2009-10 season.

That day finally came on Wednesday, and I can’t say I’m unhappy with any of it.

Writes ESPN’s Marc Stein:

The NBA formally announced its new social media guidelines Wednesday, informing teams through a league memorandum that the use of cell phones, PDAs and other electronic communications devices — and thus accessing Twitter, Facebook and similar social media sites — is now prohibited during games for players, coaches and other team personnel involved in the game.

The league has defined “during games” as the period of time beginning 45 minutes before the opening tip and ending “after the postgame locker room is open to the media and coaches and players have first fulfilled their obligation to be available to media attending the game.”

“During games” also encompasses halftime, according to the memo, but the new guidelines do allow players to engage in social networking during the pregame media ccess period that starts 90 minutes before tipoff and lasts for 45 minutes.

All in all, it’s about what I expected, and as Stein notes, it’s “less stringent” than the NFL’s social media policy, which doesn’t allow pretty much anyone involved with the NFL to tweet from 90 minutes before kickoff until after postgame media availability.

I like that the NBA starts the restricted time 45 minutes before the game, because from being in the locker room in the 1:30 to 0:45 minute marks before tipoff, players are mainly just relaxing at their lockers if they don’t have any treatment to be getting, and they should be allowed to tweet to their heart’s content at this time while nothing else ie going on.

Charlie Villanueva did bring up an interesting point when he questioned how a halftime tweet is any different than a halftime interview. The answer is that halftime tweets don’t pay the NBA millions upon millions of dollars to broadcast its games, and unfortunately that’s the answer to a number of questions involved with the league. I don’t think there’s any harm in halftime tweets, but it’s fair for them to be part of the ban.

Stein also wrote that the Heat, Raptors, Bucks and Clippers are among the teams imposing more stringent guidelines, which the leagues rules allow, basically taking away social media during “team time.”

Suns VP of digital media Jeramie McPeek told me a few weeks back that the Suns were not planning on enforcing any guidelines beyond what the league rules stipulate, and good for them.

In case you haven’t been reading me lately, the Suns are social media. Hell, it seems like the entire organization is on Twitter. The Suns all but force their players to be on Twitter, so I don’t expect this policy to change anything about their social media presence.

Now I can go back to worrying about more important things, such as whether Lou Amundson will surpass his career 43 percent free-throw shooting this season.

If you can even believe Paul Coro’s latest report, in which Lou apparently drilled 96 of 100 tosses from the foul stripe last week, there is hope.

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