No social media in the locker room
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Today’s athlete is the modern day gladiator, risking his or her body for our enjoyment. At the end of the battle the athlete retreats to its lone sanctuary: the locker room. There, a player should be able to change in private and enjoy small amounts of comradery with the team without the world seeing. The most important aspect regarding the idea of the locker room is the isolation. This solitude should not be invaded.
However, the age of social media has turned into an invasion of the privacy that the locker room is supposed to keep. Pictures, videos, even tweets have eroded the seclusion that athletes deserve. They can no longer change in private or say anything meant for select ears only. After Antonio Brown, a Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, used Facebook in the locker room, there was increased anger in the sports community. The uproar that it caused led to the stance, which is completely right in my opinion, that social media has no place in the locker room.
Brown posted a live video of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room celebration and the head coach Mike Tomlin’s post game speech, which involved Tomlin calling the Patriots derogatory names. Multiple NFL players, coaches, and executives came out to publicly decry Brown’s video, as he faced criticism from the Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots’ wide receiver Danny Amendola. The only public response from his own teammates was when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talked about the team conducting themselves properly. Although it doesn’t directly denounce Brown’s actions, the political response resembles a jab at what Brown did. The wide receiver was punished with a $10,000 fine, and now the Steelers are reportedly considering releasing him.
While releasing him could be seen as an extreme response, it’s not as outlandish as it may seem. Team chemistry is vital for a team’s success. Brown damaged the group’s cohesiveness by betraying their trust, and his own teammates may not feel comfortable around him. Personally, had anyone on any of my teams taken pictures of something in the locker room, I would not want to play with them moving forward. Privacy is held dear to many athletes, and athletes even in high school consider it important.
Senior linebacker Mike Constantino explained the level of privacy there should be in a locker room.
“It has the exact privacy you want,” Constantino said. “It is only your team and you and that is what it should be.”
Senior outside hitter Sara Ganas talked about how although phones were used in the locker room, they were not a distraction.
“It wasn’t out of the ordinary to be on your phone,” Ganas said. “But from my experience, there were not many pictures and videos taken in the locker room.”
Both accounts, male and female, tell roughly the same message. The occurrences behind the doors are for the team. No one should take pictures or videos, as it violates the privacy of the players. Should the solitude be breached by a team member, internal turmoil could be disastrous to the team’s future.
Furthermore, a locker room is meant to be a place for the team. Private conversations take place and mental preparation happens within. Social media is something regarding an individual. The individual’s followers are not the team’s followers, and what a team member wants to show his fans may not be something another teammate wants to show his supporters. By bringing social media into the locker room, Antonio Brown went against everything the locker room is supposed to stand for.
Social media has proven itself as a true invader to the sanctuary of athletes, as it violates their privacy and trust. It has the ability to shame players and tear teams apart. Although we the fans feel that we should experience everything that happens in our heroes’ lives, we must accept the fact that they are people too. They deserve their own lives.