ESPN staff writer Tim MacMahon reports that all 30 NBA teams received a league memo about rules prohibiting mockery of opposing players or game officials on social media, citing “recent social media postings on official team accounts” that had “crossed the line between appropriate and inappropriate.”
This Thursday morning policy notice was no doubt catalyzed by the Trail Blazers official Twitter account poking fun at Chandler Parsons of the Memphis Grizzlies after he badly air-balled a 3-point attempt on January 27.
To be fair, the NBA 3-point line is really, really far away from the basket. pic.twitter.com/dHusI9cHcW— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 28, 2017
Parsons took exception to the tweet and responded by suggesting that the Trail Blazers would miss the playoffs. Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum then took a shot at Parsons. You can read all about that here. The next morning, Trail Blazers President Chris McGowan issued a statement saying that the social account is intended to be fun and that they would be more mindful going forward. Parsons accepted the apology.
On one hand, it is a smart move by the league to stamp out any possibility of cyberbullying from official team accounts. On the other, this little reminder to play nice moves the line of acceptability far enough to sterilize what was, in large part, innocuous fun. The Trail Blazers social crew operates under strict guidelines while using their better judgement, not malice, in order to enhance the fan experience, and the team account is widely regarded as one of the most entertaining in the league.