Playing the Social Game: Student athletes take precautions on social media in order to properly represent CHS

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Kyle Crawford

CONSCIOUS ATHLETE: Men’s varsity basketball player and junior Sterling Brown shoots a basket. Unlike many of his teammates, Brown chooses not use social media. KYLE CRAWFORD / PHOTO

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MEDIA BEFORE THE GAME: Men’s varsity basketball player and senior Preston Flamion checks his twitter feed before going out on the court before a game. Flamion enjoys using social media, but says he has to be careful what he posts. ALLY RUSSELL / PHOTO
MEDIA BEFORE THE GAME:
Men’s varsity basketball player and senior Preston Flamion checks his twitter feed before going out on the court before a game. Flamion enjoys using social media, but says he has to be careful what he posts.
ALLY RUSSELL / PHOTO

Like many CHS students, men’s varsity basketball player and senior Preston Flamion uses social media, but as Flamion is a spotlight player on the varsity basketball team, he has become more cautious of his posts. With over 400 followers on Twitter, such as Flamion’s head coach Scott Heady and other authoritative figures, he said he is careful about what he posts in order to represent himself and the school well. He said the coaches have informed the team of the consequences of misconduct on social media, but most of the athletes are already aware of how important it is to be cautious about what they post on their social media.

Flamion said, “Our coaches make sure to keep everyone informed on the consequences of misusing social media. They hold us accountable for anything that we post that misrepresents the team or the school, but I feel that my team and I are already well educated on social media.”

Along with Flamion, Sterling Brown, men’s varsity basketball team member and junior, said the team is fully aware of the consequences. Unlike many student athletes, Brown has chosen not to be on social media. He said there is a spotlight on the basketball team so they have to be extra cautious of what they say.

“The coaches talk with us and teach us how to use social media appropriately. I feel that the team is well aware of how to represent Carmel and the basketball team. I don’t personally have social media, but I know you have to be responsible with what you post,” Brown said.

Athletics Director Jim Inkseep said social media can be a huge responsibility for student athletes and he is impressed with how well the athletes handle it. He said athletes don’t have as much freedom to express themselves as other students at CHS. Inskeep said the administration asks the coaches to address social media and to be aware that there are people out there trying to twist and turn what they are saying.

He said, “As administration we are not trying to squash their fun, but any time you turn on ESPN there will be some reference to an athlete saying something on Twitter. It’s a huge responsibility for our student athletes at an early age. Our responsibility as adults is to help them when they mess up and to teach them about the consequences.”

A couple of years ago, the district created a social media policy for all the schools in the district. This was created due to the rising interest and use in social media. Inskeep said the policy was specifically created for clubs and extracurriculars. It states that any act “unbecoming” of a greyhound may result in suspension or removal from one’s club or team.

“When we created this policy we left it as a broad statement because over the last three to four years not one instance seems to be the same. We haven’t had to remove anyone from a program, but we have faced suspensions from games or practices. My preference is to not suspend the athletes, but rather educate them and then monitor their posts,” Inskeep said. 

Along with having to be cautious of social media, athletes like Flamion and Brown are expected to talk to media. CHS does not require any training, but coaches and administration are available to assist student athletes.  Flamion said that he feels pretty educated on talking to media.

Flamion said, “I think that we are already well enough aware of how the mediaand social media work. Being further educated would possibly prove to be a waste of time for the majority of us.”

Unlike Flamion, however, Brown said some of his team members, particularly the younger ones, could benefit from being further educated on how to talk to the media.

“This way, when it is time for them to talk to media, they are confident in their abilities,” Brown said.

Inskeep said the school does not have any specific media training, but the student athletes come to the high school with an amazing ability to communicate with adults. He said athletes tend to speak highly of their team and keep their responses positive. 

He said, “I think our student athletes watch a lot of interviews from college and professional athletes and they see that they are positive and deferring credit to their teammates. When I read quotes from our student athletes, there is a lot of positive talk, and when something negative comes up, they do a good job at being able to avoid talking about it. That is exactly what we ask of them and that shows a lot of maturity.”

Inskeep said sometimes social media can come off as negative for student athletes at CHS. He said while the school does not promote using social media, it can be beneficial at times when students are trying to inform other students of what activities are taking place at the school. 

“A lot of our athletes use social media to pump up teammates and celebrate wins,” Inskeep said. “Twitter has allowed our students and student athletes to see what other clubsand programs are doing and how to be supportive of other things in our school.”Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 2.14.02 PM

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