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Teams Take Financial Risk by Mocking NFL’s Tightened Social Media Policy

2 Nov, 2016

By: Michael Popke

It seems the absurdity of Deflategate did little to discourage the National Football League’s penchant for taking itself way too seriously.

Among the latest proclamations from the league that recently acknowledged a double-digit drop in television viewership is a social media rule that essentially allows teams to post only video or GIFs the NFL approves and that have been uploaded to the league’s internal server.

This “draconian” policy, as Media Post’s “Social Media & Marketing Daily” put it, led the Cleveland Browns to tweet a GIF of a touchdown pass reenacted by plastic players on a vibrating electronic football game field. 

As The Seattle Times reported, the NFL initially did not give a reason for the new policy. But the league’s head of social media, Tom Brady — not that Tom Brady — eventually told Yahoo Sports the change was about retaining value and content control in the wake of the NFL signing multiple deals with social media platforms.

“If we allowed the clubs, and ourselves, to put every single bit out there, there could end up being a lot of noise,” Brady said.

Escalating fines for video-posting violations begin at $25,000 per team for the first offense, $50,000 for the second, $100,000 for the third and — after a fourth violation — a team could lose access to the NFL’s own content, including game footage.

No word yet on whether the Browns have been fined for their Oct. 16 tweet, but consider this for context: The NFL fined Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict $75,000 for stomping on New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount’s leg in an Oct. 16 game. How can tweeting footage from an electronic football game even compare?

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