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Bucks crack down with ban on Twitter

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Associated Press
September 29, 2009
— Former Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva said he made history by sending a message on Twitter during an NBA game last year. Under the team’s new rules, he’ll go down as the only one in franchise history to do so without getting fined.

The Bucks are banning the use of Twitter any time a player is at the team’s St. Francis practice facility, the Bradley Center or any road arena, coach Scott Skiles said Monday at the team’s media day.


“Their free time is their free time, and their work time is their work time,” Skiles said. “I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable about that.”


Skiles said tweeting players also are being encouraged to be cautious about what they write.


“Don’t put your personal business out there, and don’t put your team business out there,” he said. “You shouldn’t be telling people where you’re going on a given night.”


Center Andrew Bogut called the new rule “totally fair.”


“You’re on business hours. If I ran a business and went to an office and I saw my colleagues, my workers, on Facebook and Twitter, I wouldn’t be too happy,” said Bogut, who uses Twitter to help keep up with his friends and family in Australia. “I’ve never even thought about Twittering at the arena or when I’m about to suit up.”


That’s just what Villanueva did at halftime of a Bucks game with the Celtics in March, writing that he had to step up. He did and the Bucks won, but Skiles wasn’t happy. Villanueva left as a free agent this summer and signed with the Detroit Pistons in the offseason.


Bogut and guard Charlie Bell often like to tease each other through Twitter, and Bell said talking directly to fans is part of the appeal of social networking.


“I’m still going to interact with fans,” Bell said. “It’s going to be tough trying to stick to the rules and the guidelines, but you’ve got to think about everything that you tweet. ... Hopefully I don’t get fined too much.”


Rookie Brandon Jennings maintains his Facebook account, but has protected his Twitter feed and booted all his followers. Jennings ran into trouble for an expletive-laced conversation that made its way onto YouTube shortly after he was picked and the experience led him to silence his tweets, too.


“After (that) whole situation and then just reading what other players were saying and how they were getting in trouble about it, I just stopped it. I’m just focused on this season,” said Jennings, who turned 20 last week. “Twitter is like ESPN, everybody’s waiting to see what you have to say. You’ve just got to be careful.”


Skiles, meanwhile, yearns for simpler times.


“I remember the days when I didn’t have a cell phone,” he said. “I liked those days.”



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