Tennis Players Encouraged to Watch what they Tweet
Even tennis isn’t sacrosanct—competitors in the US Open are being warned to watch what they tweet. The warning is purportedly to ensure compliance with tennis’ “Anti-Corruption Program Rules.”
Posted in conspicuous locations, the warning reads: "Many of you will have Twitter accounts in order for your fans to follow you and to become more engaged in you and the sport - and this is great…however popular it is, it is important to warn you of some of the dangers posted by Twittering as it relates to the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program Rules." Tennis has always seen itself as a refined, gentlemen’s sport. If you’ve been to an event, you can’t help but notice a certain refinement; an upper-class crustiness. After all, the group associated with the Twitter warning was the “Tennis Integrity Unit” (italics mine). Tennis officials are extra-sensitive to anything that could damage their highfalutin image.
Tennis’ Anti-Corruption Program mentions that, “Evidence of a Player's lack of efforts or poor performance during an Event may be offered to support allegations that a Covered Person committed a Corruption Offense, but the absence of such evidence shall not preclude a Covered Person from being sanctioned for a Corruption Offense.” This, along with Davydenko’s surly demeanor, explains why the Russian is generally watched like a hawk.
To play devil’s advocate, twitter could potentially violate any number of Anti-Corruption statutes. The moss egregious violation, in my opinion, is the following: “No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, solicit or accept any money, benefit or Consideration, for the provision of any Inside Information.” However, this assumes that the tweets in question give away privileged information. Many twitter updates are throwaway glimpses into celebrity lives—not confidential information.
The controversy will continue, but it will originate from players—not technology. Tweet fines notwithstanding, if a player wants to place an illegal wager, they’ll do so regardless of technological “advantages.” And in this editor’s opinion, there are better sources of “inside information” than twitter.