Heated Parsons-McCollum exchange prompts NBA memo calling for end to social media taunts
Memphis guard Chandler Parsons was right in the middle of a Twitter war against Portland and its star guard CJ McCollum. AP

THE NBA has issued a memo to its 30 teams on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) prohibiting them from mocking and ridiculing their opponents in order to prevent provoking exchanges between players that could possibly hurt the reputation of the league.

The order came in the wake of a heated exchange between Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum and Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons on Twitter that began after the Blazers’ official Twitter account posted a GIF of Parsons’ airball during their January 27 match.

Parsons, who chose to play for the Grizzlies after receiving maximum-contract offers from Portland and Memphis as a free agent in the offseason, tweeted ‘"Good luck in the lottery show this year,’ in response to the Blazers jab.

Not taking the tweet sitting down, McCollum retorted directly at Parsons, who has yet to regain his form after coming back from knee surgery: "We hit the lottery by not signing you."

The NBA head office finally put its foot down and issued the memo from NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, a copy of which was shared by ESPN.

"While we understand that the use of social media by teams, including during games, is an important part of our business, the inappropriate use of social media can damage the reputation of the NBA, its teams and its players," explained the league in the memo.

"Recently, social media postings (e.g., on Twitter) by some teams have crossed the line between appropriate and inappropriate. In addition to other concerns, such conduct by teams can result in 'Twitter wars' between players that can cause further reputational damage and subject players to discipline by the League,” added Tatum.

Tatum directed the franchises to follow the NBA's rules to guide their social media use.

“As with in-game entertainment, teams are prohibited from mocking and/or ridiculing opponents (including teams, players, team personnel (including owners) and opponents' home cities) and game officials on social media in any form, including through statements, pictures or videos," he said.

The memo also specified three particular instances of inappropriate material for team social media accounts:  disparage, belittle or embarrass an individual opponent or game official; mimic or impersonate an opponent or game official in a negative manner; criticize officiating or the NBA officiating program.

"In addition, teams should never disparagingly or negatively refer to an opponent's or game official's personal life, family, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or any other status or characteristic protected by law," the memo continued. "Teams are also prohibited from using social media to highlight or encourage player altercations, flagrant fouls or hard physical contact between players, or to condone or make light of violence in any way or form.”


The NBA also encouraged teams to train their social media staff properly and extensively to make sure they are clear on posting only appropriate posts. 

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