Cork GAA chiefs will seek an explanation from Beara GAA regarding a series of controversial tweets sent from the account of the divisional board this month.
Officials believe that comments posted from the official Beara GAA account — @Gaabeara — in recent weeks may be deemed as having brought the association into disrepute under Rule 7.2 — misconduct considered to have discredited the association.
The county board executive are aware of the tweets and will discuss the issue at the next meeting of the board’s competition’s control committee (CCC).
Beara made a controversial exit from the Cork U21 football championship for failing to fulfill a fixture against Douglas, with the city club going on to win the competition, beating Cill na Martra in the final earlier this month. Following that victory, a number of tweets were posted which questioned the validity of the Douglas title. Those tweets have angered officials of both the county board and Douglas GAA Club.
One of the tweets from the Beara account claimed: “Games should be won and lost on the field of play not at shady meetings in the halfway (sic) of pairc ui roinn (sic) which led to beara’s u.21 team being suspend @douglas’s request @ the points awarded to them.”
Another tweet from the Beara official account was posted last weekend following the defeat of the Douglas minor footballers in the County Premier 1 Championship final against Éire Óg. It read: “Maybe ye better get onto the county board to win that game for ye as well.”
The issues arising from this case have wider implications for the GAA, with more and more clubs, members and players on social media.
The GAA’s Social Media Policies & Guidelines
document notes that: “All GAA members are encouraged to take part in social media but the Association expects each individual to follow these guidelines.
“In that way, everyone participates in a responsible, respectful and relevant manner that protects our reputation.”
The policy document also notes: “Situations involving the inappropriate use of social media should not be underestimated by any GAA unit. Trolling, or personal or general attacks can have a real impact on the victims of such behaviour. Trolling, or personal or general attacks on your social media platforms should be deleted immediately and the general rule is not to ‘feed the troll’ — in other words do not get involved in a war of words as this is usually what they are looking for.”
The policy document also warns members about the long-term implications of social media posts.
“These are difficult situations to control as once material is released into the online world it cannot be easily retrieved, if at all. The internet is forever.”
In 2012, GAA Croke Park bosses warned inter-county players that disrespectful comments on Twitter could be seen to bring the organisation into disrepute.
“The charge of bringing the game into disrepute applies to Twitter as much as it does to what is said on air or in the newspapers,” a GAA spokesperson said after a number of Louth footballers had slammed the performance of referee Derek Fahy in their All-Ireland qualifier defeat by Westmeath.
“It doesn’t matter what the medium is, in that regard. There has to be an acceptance by people that they have to be responsible for what they say or write.”
Beara GAA were last night unavailable to respond to a request for comment.
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