Being a footballer can be a hard profession.
Players will be subjected to an untold amount of abuse when they are playing out on the pitch and have a poor performance – although that has not been the case for almost a year because of obvious reasons.
Social media, though, has not helped them in the slightest as they are scruitnised even further than ever before.
Take Ryan Babel, for instance, as he was the first player to receive disciplinary action for using a social media account to post something that the FA deemed punishable.
10 years ago, the Dutch winger was playing for Liverpool when he became the first player in the Premier League to receive a fine for something he posted on Twitter.
Following their 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup Third Round – in which also happened to be Kenny Daglish’s first game back in charge of the Reds – Babel took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the performance of referre, Howard Webb.
The game saw Ryan Giggs convert a penalty in the second minute, whilst Steven Gerrard was shown a red card – not the best game for those wanting to follow the freelivescore updates available at the time.
As mentioned, Babel took to Twitter to post about the game and left the caption: “And they call him one of the best referees? That’s a joke. SMH [shaking my head].” He had posted that above an image that saw Howard Webb photoshopped into a Manchester United shirt.
Despite the best efforts of the former Holland international to try and apologise for the post with two tweets that said: “My apology if they take my posted pic seriously. This is just a emotional reaction after losing an important game,” and “Sorry Howard Webb!”, they ultimately ended up being costly for him.
Babel was left charged by the FA with improper conduct and was hit with a £10,000 fine (pocket change) for the Twitter post, with Roger Burden – the regulatory commission chairman – saying: “Social network sites, like Twitter, must be regarded as being in the public domain.
“All participants need to be aware, in the same way as if making a public statement in other forms of media, that any comments would be transmitted to a wider audience. It is their responsibility to ensure only appropriate comments are used.”
Babel had been on the receiving end of disciplinary proceedings for social media before the incendent as well. The current Galatasaray winger once hit out at his manager when he tweeted about being dropped for a game against Stoke City; citing it was “without explanation”.