One more typical weekend on a college campus where yet another athlete does something to negatively impact his future.
This is not even really news any more and that's unfortunate. The only part that is news: who it was and what did they do -- this time?
In my role running MVP Sports Media Training (http://www.sportsmediatraining.com/), I educate collegiate athletes all across the country that they are more accountable than the average student and thus more vulnerable to scrutiny by the public, media and alumni of thier schools -- whether it be for their real or virtual activities on and off the field.
Why, they often ask, does my name appear in the paper when there were 100 other people arrested for doing the same thing? The answer is simple -- you are in the public's eye because you are an athlete. When you make a mistake it is magnified and exposed. Is it fair? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. The fact remains the 100 other kids who got arrested for the same thing aren't on an athletic scholarship and don't publicly represent the school.
Much like posting something on a social networking site and having it exposed, compromising behavior can have a negative impact on your future as well. Many employers will not hire someone with a DUI or an arrest record, and just like potential employers do internet searches for information on applicants' character, many of them also do background checks where actions that lead to arrest will be readily available.
Once the arrest has been reported, the media will likely do a quick search of social networking pages to see if the athlete has posted anything that they can expose to add to the controversy. Many athletes don't think about the fact that posting something controversial on their Facebook and/or MySpace pages can be exposed for reasons other than the content of those posts...it can be a secondary consequence, compunding an already difficult situation.
I try to get the athletes to think about their actions this way. It's called "The Mother Rule" -- If you are fine with having your mother or grandmother read about what you are about to do, or post online, then you are probably OK to do it.
BSOT...Be Safe Online Tonight