Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Denver Bronco's Social Media Refresher?

Jamaal Charles is 30 years old. In the non-football world, that isn't an advanced age. But when it comes to the fast-moving realm of social media, Charles has pretty much told all forms of virtual communication to get off his lawn..

When asked recently what advice he would give to young players about social media, Charles' answer was simple: "Just stay off of it."

The Broncos have had plenty of discussions with their players about social media, and team members are expected to adhere to certain standards of conduct should they choose to send pictures or thoughts into cyberspace. The organization has had to reaffirm those expectations in the past week following a mini-media storm -- the bulk of which was carried out by former players who now work in talk radio or other local outlets.

The hubbub began after safety Will Parks posted a video of two practice plays on his Snapchat account. The plays, both incompletions thrown by quarterback Paxton Lynch, were framed by some as criticisms of Lynch's efforts in practice.

They were also framed by many as a breach of football protocol.

"Social media is different than what I grew up around," said Broncos coach Vance Joseph. "It's their everyday lives. Sometimes, they fall into the trap of it being a normal deal, but this is work. This is a workplace. We can't share what we're doing here to the outside world, so to speak."

This isn't the first time a Broncos coach has had to contend with playbook items finding their way into the public domain because a player put them there. In 2012, during John Fox's second season with the team, linebacker D.J. Williams posted images from his playbook on social media. The playbook was on a team-issued iPad.

At the time, Fox said: "Basically, we discussed it, and I think all in all our guys do a great job of keeping our fans informed. You're going to have a couple of mishaps, and you just move on."

That public reaction closely mirrored what Joseph said this past week about the Parks incident.

"Our players do a great job with social media, kind of showing how hard they're working and talking to our fans," Joseph said. "But [Parks] can't do it. What we do here is personal and private. But his intent was not to hurt us or his teammate."

While Parks emphasized that there was no ill will between Lynch and himself in the aftermath of his post -- "We didn't even look at it like that," he said -- his actions did inspire another presentation of sorts from Joseph about the dos and don'ts of mass virtual communication.

Broncos linebacker Von Miller is one of the team's most active players on social media and can often be spotted in the locker room taking a look at what's trending. Miller said he sees plenty of benefits to participating in social media.

"I just like it," Miller said. "You connect with people out there, let people know what's going on. ... I think people use it so much, you kind of have to be part of it. You have to do it right, but it's part of the way things are."

Miller took a brief hiatus from social media during his sometimes testy contract negotiations last summer -- after famously cropping executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway out of a group picture taken during the Broncos' White House visit. The photo included Miller and former quarterback Peyton Manning.

Parks' very public social media bobble is one of those items that a first-year coach like Joseph might not have on the front burner as he goes about building a depth chart and installing a new playbook. But Joseph is also a parent and believes social media constitutes one area where parenting skills can translate to coaching.

He added that he has reminded the Broncos (yet again) to think at least twice before hitting send on social media platforms.

Guest Authored By Jeff Legwold. Jeff is an ESPN Senior Writer. He's covered the Denver Broncos for nine years for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. He previously covered Steelers, Bills and Titans. He's a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors since 1999. Follow Jeff on Twitter

"We spend a lot of time with our players as far as education about social media," Joseph said.

"They're like your kids.

You have to constantly remind them about the dangers of innocent behavior.

Again, [Parks'] intent wasn't to hurt us or to hurt his teammate, it was to show he was working hard.

I buy that.."

    • Authored by:
      Fred Hansen Pied Piper of Social Media Marketing at GetMoreHere.com & CEO of Millennium 7 Publishing Co. in Loveland, Colorado. I work deep in the trenches of social media strategy, community management and trends.  My interests include; online business educator, social media marketing, new marketing technology, skiing, hunting, fishing and The Rolling Stones..-Not necessarily in that order ;)
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