SBD/February 22, 2013/Franchises

Vikings, Other NFL Teams Put New Emphasis On Evaluating Prospects' Social Media Use

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The "catfishing" hoax involving Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o has "altered the way teams are scouring draft prospects' involvement on social media," according to Jim Corbett of USA TODAY. Social media provides an "unusual -- and not always positive -- view of a player's personality and daily life." Vikings GM Rick Spielman on Thursday said, "We've done a lot of digging on social media and have a pretty in-depth picture of players who are involved and not involved in social media -- how many times they tweet. But it's interesting to see the patterns of these social media players." Seahawks GM John Schneider said that his security staff is "assigned with monitoring the Facebook and Twitter feeds of prospects the team is scouting." Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland said that the team for the last two years has "focused on prospects' social-media involvement, but it's becoming more important" (USA TODAY, 2/22). Schneider said outsiders would be "shocked" by how closely teams pay attention to social media outlets. NFL.com's Kareem Copeland noted a recent incident with the Redskins, in which several players were contacted online by a woman using false profiles, is "another cautionary tale of the dangers of social media" (NFL.com, 2/21).

MEDIA PLAY: NATIONAL FOOTBALL POST's Brad Biggs notes the NFL is "anxious to see" how Te'o "handles media when he becomes the spotlight at the Scouting Combine." He has had "ample time to rehearse what he will say to inquiring teams as well as inquisitive reporters" following the news about his online hoax. Spielman said that he wants to "see how Te'o handles both groups." He said, "We'll watch that. I think that's a very valuable part of the process in handling media when they have to talk in front of you guys. It's not a be-all, end-all decision-maker, but we can tell if this guy needs some polish or technique if we do draft this guy on how to handle the media. Or this [guy] is pretty polished" (NATIONALFOOTBALLPOST.com, 2/21).
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