A girls softball team that had outscored its opponents 29-1 learned a valuable lesson about social media: Post with caution.
The team from Atlee, Virgina, was disqualified Saturday from the nationally televised championship game at the Junior League World Series in Kirkland, Washington, after one team member posted that photo on her Snapchat account before their game Friday. The team apologized Saturday, even asking for an investigation into the game, but it was too late to repair the damage the image had caused.
— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) August 6, 2017
Little League spokesman Kevin Fountain called the post “inappropriate” in a statement to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, explaining that it violated the league’s “policies regarding unsportsmanlike conduct.”
As you might image, the disqualification has generated a bit of controversy.
Atlee team manager, Scott Currie, found out about the photo Friday evening after the team’s 1-0 win. Currie immediately reprimanded the players who were involved, before demanding they delete the post and apologize in person to their rivals.
“It’s a travesty for these girls,” Currie told the Times-Dispatch on Saturday. “Yes, they screwed up, but I don’t think the punishment fit the crime.”
Little League’s decision to disqualify Atlee while promoting Kirkland irked many on social media, although most admitted the photo posted to Snapchat was inexcusable. Many also said it’s equally unfair to disqualify the whole Atlee team over the actions of six members.
Atlee’s replacement in the final game lost 7-1.
Here’s what some people said on Twitter. What do you think? Is the punishment fair or foul?
A lesson for a disqualified girls' softball team: social media doesn't have a filter for consequences https://t.co/uuB6BBKeWX
— Eric Adelson (@eric_adelson) August 7, 2017
It's ludicrous that that girls softball team got disqualified for flipping the bird…they're kids for crying out loud
— Steely Dan (@DansTheMan07) August 8, 2017
I know how we get support for girls sports! Let's disqualify a group of every day girls playing for the love of… https://t.co/i1vl30pDJh
— Sam Atkinson (@NotSoTameImpala) August 5, 2017
Whether the punishment was too harsh or just, it’s an important reminder that all players in your program(s) need to remember that everyone is watching on social media. Social media is a powerful tool to use to help spread the word about yourself as a player, but remember that everyone- especially tournament leaders and college coaches- is watching.