Week in Review: Social Media’s Effect on Football

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We live in a world where information travels faster than it ever has before. Because of certain social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, football fans do not have to wait until news breaks across the TV screen on SportsCenter, or wait for an update on NFL.com. If NFL fans simply follow the right people on twitter (i.e. Adam Schefter), they will have this news as soon as it breaks. Is this good for football and its players?

In certain situations this can be good for the game and good for the fans. Fans that play fantasy football during the season can get instant injury updates about players on their fantasy team and make substitutions immediately. This can also work for fans placing bets on football games. If you can get an instant injury report through Twitter before the spread can change on a game, you have better odds to win yourself some money.

There are also certain situations where getting this information in such a fast manner can be detrimental to the game. Sometimes news is released that isn’t 100% true or has not been confirmed yet. This news will go viral across all social media networks. Millions of football fans will have this information and speculate on it as they will believe it to be true. This will subsequently have an adverse effect on the aforementioned situations of NFL fans. Fantasy football owners will pull wrong players due to a speculated injury and cost them a game. A fan could place a bet on a game based on information deemed false and could potentially lose a substantial amount of money.

However, this is not only cause for concern for fans of football. It is also something that football players need to be concerned with as well. The most recent example of this is the situation that transpired early Saturday morning involving Adrian Peterson and the Houston Police Department. There were several versions of the story going around Twitter before spokespersons from either side of the conflict could get a word in edgewise. Peterson, himself, was fed up with the rate that this story flew through the social media ranks, prompting him to quote Winston Churchill. Peterson tweeted,

"“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”"