The emergence of social media has been both a gift and a curse as it pertains to professional athletes.
The gift is that it is a tremendous tool that athletes can use to build their brand both while they are playing and after they retire.
The curse is that if athletes choose to use their social media accounts irresponsibly, the consequences could be dire. Former Brooklyn Nets’ star and future NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce is about to learn this the hard way.
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Paul Pierce Goes Viral After Wild Night on Instagram
Pierce who has been a panel member of ESPN’s The Jump and NBA Countdown since 2017 went live on Instagram on Friday night during what seemed to be a poker night. Seems harmless enough right? Wrong. In the live video, Pierce is surrounded by a bunch of exotic dancers while he is gambling and smoking an unknown substance.
After the live video went viral, fans took to Twitter to chime in on Pierce’s wild Friday night.
ESPN Has History of Disciplining Their Talent
While Pierce did not do anything out of the ordinary, ESPN is known for having an extremely strict code of conduct as it pertains to their talent and their social media accounts. They have not been shy about disciplining them for going against the grain.
In 2017, former ESPN reporter Jemele Hill was suspended for two weeks for a tweet she posted chastising Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones after he explicitly stated that he would bench any Cowboys player who disrespected the American Flag by kneeling for the National Anthem.
In response to Jones, Hill suggested that fans who disagreed with his stance should boycott his advertisers and was suspended after her Tweet went viral.
A more surprising suspension from ESPN came last summer when the network suspended famed NBA breaking news reporter Adrian Wojnarowski for an explicit email that he sent to United States Senator John Hawley.
Hawley sent a letter to the NBA expressing his disdain for their public support of China and other social justice issues. In the screenshot that has since been deleted by Hawley, Woj says “f*** you,” to the United States Senator which is what ultimately got him suspended by the network.
Paul Pierce Had Short Lived Stint With Nets
Pierce’s arrival to Brooklyn was a surprise for many. After spending the entirety of his career with the team who drafted him, the Boston Celtics, he, and his championship teammate Kevin Garnett were traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the Summer of 2013.
That Nets team had high expectations. After already boasting an All-Star backcourt of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams they were picked by many to dethrone LeBron James and the Miami Heat to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. The Heat however proved to be too much for the Nets as they would beat Brooklyn in five games.
How harsh Pierce’s punishment from the worldwide leader will be remains to be seen as ESPN nor Pierce has yet to release a statement on his actions. Hopefully, this will be a lesson to the future Hall of Famer about being more responsible with his social media account.