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Footballer casualty of social media as he’s sacked over tweet

Berwick Rangers – no relation to Glasgow Rangers – are a small club in the Borders of Scotland. As highlighted by G40 Celtic, Kieran Bowell, the captain of one of their teams sent out a tweet related to the death threats being made to Neil Lennon of Celtic FC and others. As a result, Berwick Rangers have sacked him and now he’s screwed any career he may have had (any team that picks him up and if he rises through the ranks to the big time, this will always get pulled up – and what senior club is going to pick someone when they know the first thing that will happen is a piece in a paper about him having been a bigot).

Was it a good thing he tweeted this? Can he come back from it? What’s the lesson for others?

social media footballer casualty

Should people be this honest online?

Yes. People should be this honest. People are being honest – they aren’t being fakes – so they can defend their opinions. Digital lives and ‘real’ lives are now one and the same. So if you say something online – and you should only post what you believe anyway -then this lets people see what you are like.

If that opinion is one of hatred that gets them into trouble with the police, then hopefully the people involved would see that wishing ill on someone like this is wrong and change their behaviour accordingly.

How Kieran Bowell could come back from this

  1. He’s said it, so he has to take it on the chin. He’s taken his Twitter stream down, which was the wrong move. He should have kept it up.
  2. Assuming he is sorry he said it, he should have asked Berwick Rangers to include more of a statement by him.
  3. If he’s wanting to be really proactive he could join or make a donation to an anti-bigotry/sectarian organisation.
  4. When it comes up in future, just refer people back to what he’s said now, that’s sorry, it was immature and he wants to move on with his life

Lessons for everyone from this

It shouldn’t need said in 2011, but amazingly it still does. If you say something online, it’s going out to the whole world and it could be out there for a very long time. If you are going to say something, then either mean it or specify very clearly that it’s humour (which is a subjective thing). No one is saying you need to be a mindless drone with no opinion, but have the courage of your convictions.

Another points, especially if on Twitter. If using a hashtag accept that if you are flying contrary to the use of the hashtag – in this case hijacking the #neillennon hashtag – people will especially call you out on it.

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