Man City and Chelsea Instagram gaffe reveals hypocritical nature of football news

You’ve heard the one about the footballer’s social media gaffe by now, i’m sure.

Victor Anichebe and Daley Blind are etched in the mind these days, whilst countless others have made very public mistakes when posting to Twitter and Instagram.

Copy / pasting an email without checking can lead to huge embarrassment. And when it’s done on a social media account with thousands – maybe millions – of followers, then it’s especially bad.

So what do you do if you’re a footballer? Perhaps you hire someone – maybe even a team of someones – to run your social media channels for you. This has plenty of benefits. For one thing, you know it’s important for top sportspeople to have Twitter these days, but maybe you don’t actually care enough to create an account. If so, then hiring someone to do it for you is great: like hiring an accountant to do your taxes. Perfect.

There’s also a very good chance that you’re being asked by multiple sponsors to send out a post advertising their product. Perhaps your sportswear brand has a new campaign, or one of your other sponsors has helpfully sent you a freebie in exchange for a Tweet. Again, can’t someone else send that post out?

The point is, there are plenty of reasons why you would hire someone to post some if not all of your social media output. The extreme nature of the mockery alone is enough to make you think twice every time you post, surely.

Last weekend, though, John Stones and Alvaro Morata were involved in a very public Instagram mess-up without even having to take out their phones.

It emerged that the company who run John Stones’ Instagram account run Gary Cahill’s account, too. Hence the mix-up. Clearly someone had forgotten to sign out of Stones’ account first.

It’s so easily done, especially if all it takes it checking the wrong box or clicking the wrong button. Anyone who runs multiple social media accounts will have their own ways of guarding against such mistakes, or at least attempting to, but when mistakes of this nature are both so easy and so public, it really is a minefield. And there will always be mistakes.

The problem is, when players get slated for the mistakes they make, it’s because it fits into the easy narrative of the stupid sportsperson. When the PR agency makes the mistake, it fits into the similarly easy narrative of sport being all about business and losing its authenticity. But that’s weirdly paradoxical. It can’t be both.

Mistakes are always going to be part and parcel of it, but news stories hit the internet laughing at both the mispostings of players and those of the people behind the accounts. The lesson, of course, is that you have to be careful and prudent. But it does seem harsh that sportspeople seem to be attacked from all sides.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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