NBA sends memo to teams calling for end of “mocking and/or ridiculing” of opponents, officials

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A few weeks back the Memphis Grizzlies were in Portland for a game, when Chandler Parsons airballed a three. The people manning the official Portland Trail Blazers Twitter account decided to have a little fun with that.

After the game, Parsons took it personally and fired back.

Then C.J. McCollum got involved, and it went back and forth.

There have been other such exchanges. Twitter seems the perfect medium for snark, and official team accounts often poke fun at each other, but sometimes the jokes cross a line. The NBA league office wants that to end and sent a memo detailing such to every team, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

The NBA sent a memo to all 30 franchises this week regarding rules prohibiting the “mocking and/or ridiculing” of opponents or game officials by teams on social media. The memo from NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum stated that some recent social media postings on official team accounts had “crossed the line between appropriate and inappropriate” and cited concern that “such conduct can result in ‘Twitter wars’ between players that can cause further reputational damage and subject players to discipline by the League.

The memo cited three specific examples of material that would be inappropriate for posts on official team accounts:

· Disparage, belittle or embarrass an individual opponent or game official;
· Mimic or impersonate an opponent or game official in a negative manner; or
· Criticize officiating or the NBA officiating program.

Official team social media accounts will fall in line behind this rule. Because they have no choice. The question becomes where the league draws the exact line — team Twitter accounts poking a little good-natured fun at each other on gameday is entertaining, and one of the things that works well on Twitter. Team accounts already always spin the team in a positive light, but you don’t want it to become sanitized. It shouldn’t be all puppies and rainbows, a little edge is good. Just not too much. It will be interesting to watch the league try to draw that line.

There still will be plenty of bitter, crossing-the-line snark from fans to make up for it.