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C.J. Wilson probably violated the MLB Social media policy

Mar 19, 2012, 2:30 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Getty Images

This morning we saw that C.J. Wilson tweeted Mike Napoli‘s phone number for all of his followers to see.  Last week we learned about MLB’s new social media policy.  These two things go together.

Paragraph 4 of the social media policy, under the heading “Prohibited Conduct,” lists the following as, well, prohibited conduct:

4. Displaying or transmitting Content that contains confidential or proprietary information of any MLB Entity or its employees or agents, including, for example, financial information, medical information, strategic information, etc.

Is a ballplayer’s personal cell number confidential?  Gosh, I would be inclined to say it is given that these guys are public figures with immense fan followings.  Maybe that provision was aimed at legal information or social security numbers or something, but what’s the point of a good social media policy that doesn’t take reasonable steps to safeguard the privacy of players?  I mean, C.J. Wilson may want his life to be an open book, but Mike Napoli didn’t sign up for that.

If it’s not, technically, confidential, how about we give paragraph 8 of the policy a try? It prohibits:

8. Displaying or transmitting Content that constitutes harassment of an individual or group of individuals, or threatens or advocates the use of violence against an individual or group of individuals.

As Aaron just posted, Napoli does not consider this a harmless prank. He doesn’t even have a close relationship with Wilson. I’m guessing the harassment provision as stated above was imagined more about harassment of private people — say, a ballplayer using his Twitter account to stalk someone or to drum up a hate campaign or something.  But could this apply too?

It certainly would if the phone number Wilson tweeted belonged to John Q. Anonymous.  Does Napoli’s status as a famous ballplayer make it any different?  Before you answer, think about who may get more calls if their number is publicized; a ballplayer, or a regular Joe.  The effect on Napoli may be far worse, actually.

Whatever the case, the policy ends as follows:

Enforcement: A Player who violates this policy may be subject to discipline for just cause by either his Club or the Commissioner in accordance with Article XII of the Basic Agreement.

So, is Wilson gonna get disciplined?  If I was Bud Selig — or whoever he has put in charge of the social media policy — I’d think pretty damn hard about it. Because this seems like bad social media behavior.  And as the first test case of the policy, it’s a great opportunity for Major League Baseball to decide how strong a policy they wish this to be.

  1. bancacentral - Mar 19, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Is Craig’s policy reviewing in the BSOH(I)L?

    Ujum, ujum.

  2. bsbiz - Mar 19, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Bud: “It is therefore my decision that the outcome of their opposing at-bats shall decide home field advantage for the World Series.”

    • Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Mar 19, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      Napoli has hit .222/.333/.444 through 18 AB vs Wilson, with 2 HBP. Odds are pretty good for all of those numbers to go up.

  3. randygnyc - Mar 19, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Suspend him for a start so he’ll answer to his new team mates. See if it’ll ever happen again.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Mar 19, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      How about we suspend twitter for a day and make the world a less obnoxious place.

  4. If the Shoe Fits - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    I like this idea- suspend him for 5 games (so he has to miss a start), and drive home the point that this policy requires responsible behavior.

    It’s one thing to get into a little twitter spat- that’s all good publicity. But to maliciously mess with someone’s privacy, that’s a step too far.

    Sadly, this kind of suspension will lead to more Derek Jeter-like boring media interaction, because people will be scared of what may happen. But overall, this kind of thing actually messes with Napoli’s quality of life, and that’s just a d*** move.

    By the way, Craig- 867.5309 seems to be owned by retro fitness:

  5. Jonny 5 - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Changing your phone number blows.

  6. ppabich - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    It’s not that big of a deal. Much to do about 15 minutes and a mass text to get your phone number changed. Nobody was really harmed here. Now I have a bigger problem with CJ getting the idea from the likes of Skrillex and Deadmou5.

  7. bigharold - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    “think about who may get more calls if their number is publicized; a ballplayer, or a regular Joe.”

    Doesn’t make a difference. In a corporate environment personal phone numbers are internal information not to be made public and only to be distributed internally on a need to know basis. I’d imagine that MLB will take the same stance.

    Wilson should and likely will get a 5 figure fine for this stupidness. But, I don’t see it warranting a suspension because that would harm the team for his actions. Actions that were in no way connected to a game or his breaking a law. And, even the example of policy offered don’t really cover Wilson’s actions unless you are going to go with a really broad interpretation. The examples don’t explicitly state that personal demographic information is specifically confidential.

    For sure what Wilson did was classless low budget buffoonary but lets not get nuts. nobody was harmed other than the annoyance of having to now change their cell number.

    • ppabich - Mar 19, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      I think that last sentence is exactly what I was getting at with my post above, I was just trying to add some humor. It was a stupid move, and immature, but ultimately little harm was done.

  8. hardjudge - Mar 19, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I wonder if Mike will charge the mound at the first opportunity.

  9. stex52 - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Before this I didn’t know much about Wilson; just saw him as a solid but somewhat overrated pitcher. But now I can add Class A jerk to the picture. Just because these guys play in public they do not sacrifice their right to a private life. I don’t suppose Wilson can be punished very much, but he certainly established himself as a low-life kind of guy with a bad sense of humor.

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