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.