An entire girls softball team was kicked out from the Junior League Softball World Series over the weekend for posting a Snapchat photo of six of its players, five of whom were flipping the bird with the caption: “watch out host.”
The Atlee team from Virginia was scheduled to play against a local team from Kirkland, Washington when the girls posted their photo. They went on to win that game 1-0, and were slated to battle for a title on national television. Instead, they made national headlines for all the wrong reasons.
After the inappropriate Snapchat pic got picked up on social media and reached the Little League officials, Atlee’s win was reversed and the whole team of 12 players was disqualified. The tournament officials put out the following statement:
“After discovering a recent inappropriate social media post involving members of Atlee Little League’s Junior League Softball tournament team, the Little League International Tournament Committee has removed the Southeast Region from the 2017 Junior League Softball World Series for violation of Little League’s policies regarding unsportsmanlike conduct, inappropriate use of social media, and the high standard that Little League International holds for all its participants.”
Stripping the team of such a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity because of a single social media post may seem like a harsh punishment, especially for the other half of the team who had nothing to do with the photo. However, it also serves as a very sobering reminder that what happens on social media does not stay on social media.
In fact, what we post online has real consequences that may affect our lives in a variety of unpredictable ways. Earlier this summer Harvard University revoked ten of its admissions offers after its administrators discovered offensive Facebook posts made by the students.
Today, we live in a world where our actions online have as much (if not more) impact as what we do or say in our real-life interactions. And this is true for all of us – whether you are an athlete, a CEO of a company, or just a regular everyday person.
The Atlee girls may have paid a heavy price for a momentary lapse of judgment, but the solution for not following in their footsteps is very simple – before you decide to post anything online, you need to remember two simple rules: share with care and post with purpose.
Red Banyan Founder Evan Nierman recently explored and explained this concept in a fascinating TEDx talk called: “How We Risk Our Lives Online.” Make sure to watch it and share it with your friends and family if you find it helpful.