Why Brendan Rodgers would regulate social media

Brendan Rodgers can only offer sympathy and support for Scott Browns distress over vile posts. Photograph: Getty Images
Brendan Rodgers can only offer sympathy and support for Scott Browns distress over vile posts. Photograph: Getty Images
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The reprehensible and incomprehensible Twitter post sent to Celtic captain Scott Brown taunting him over the deaths of his sister Fiona and the club’s former manager Tommy Burns to cancer doesn’t bring a knee-jerk damning of social media from Brendan Rodgers. However, the Celtic manager does believe such sick posts raise an issue over accountability.

“I think it is what can be done after it (the trolls) which is the question,” he said. “How can you actually write that and get away with it? How can you put something out there publicly and get away with that? It’s incredible.

“We’ve had Scott [Sinclair] with the racist stuff and [now this with] Scott Brown.

“I don’t get it. I can’t fathom how someone can say that. I can only assume it’s someone who’s sat in a room, doesn’t come out the whole day. That is someone who has nothing to do who doesn’t see the sun. They’re just on a computer and they have nothing else better to do.

“I don’t get it and I think most people wouldn’t get it. Social media is a great tool for a lot of things, there are so many positives for people in how it functions and how it works.

“At the same time though, it also opens up so many doors for negativity.

“I’ve said to the players it is part of success. People try to kill you and you have to take it for what it is. You’ve got to regulate it somewhere in your mind and try not to think about it too seriously because if you did it would drive you mad.”

As a manager who seeks to meticulously control the environment within which his players operate in order to provide them with total focus, social media represents a potentially nefarious element.

Brown accessed the horrific post about his sister as he sat on a plane on the way home from the Champions League qualifying victory in Rosenberg. It clearly disturbed him, as it did all right-thinking individuals. The post could easily have dropped as he sat in his hotel room the night before a game that could shape entire seasons, and with that careers.

The answer then might be prevent players’ being exposed to social media, but Rodgers does not believe that prohibition is either practical or plausible.

“We spoke a lot about that over the last year; about controlling background noise. But I have always said we will do our talking on the pitch and stay focused on the ways in which to control all of that and play well. It has worked well for us. Obviously, though, there have been incidences from time to time.

“I am aware of it and it’s my job to help manage it but it is a strange world that we are in that people think that it is OK to write these things.

“It is a world that is hard for me to talk about because personally I try to ignore all of that stuff. It’s my choice, to do that. I don’t have Twitter or anything like that because in my world it can come in at you as well. So in my world I regulate it, and don’t have it. Don’t need it.

“At the same time of course I appreciate the impact a negative message can have on my players. That you can have a player perhaps coming back after a win who can be suddenly brought right down.

“I would never say to a player ‘don’t use it, don’t go near it’ but where we have it here we limit it.

“Outside of the changing rooms, players don’t use their phones. They are not walking about on them. And when you are having a meal, you’re talking, you’re not on your phone. They get fined if they use them outside of their room, outside of the changing rooms.

“When we are on the bus or anywhere, OK, they can be on their phones, but they have to be on silent. So we are not having them ringing and all that noise. We are strict in terms of how it works.

“I understand you need it and it is there but we limit it. It’s a bit old school but the boys actually enjoy it because they know when they come out of the changing room, that’s it they are talking to one another.”