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Should the NBA have the Rights over Players’ Twitter Accounts?

New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith might have thought the only wrath he would suffer after posting a pic to Twitter on Thursday night was that of his girlfriend, Tahiry Jose. In the pic, Jose was lying on a bed, with her back to the camera, watching television. Unfortunately, Jose was wearing only undergarments (with a full tank top,) and Smith joked that it was her large back end that was blocking his view of the television. He quickly found out that the picture was not as cool as he thought.

The tweet was immediately followed with tons of followers telling him just what an “uncool” move it was, although no one seemed seriously offended. Tahiry may have been though, along with Joe Budden, who Tahiry has been seeing for the past year, although the two have had a tumultuous relationship. Smith must have gotten wind from several angles that his picture was most unappreciated, as he soon took down the pic, tweeting along with it, “Sorry for my last tweet @TheRealTahiry n @JoeBudden I see ya’ll will never be done so I’ll step aside and chalk this one up!”

That wasn’t all that Smith had to say, either. After his game on Friday night, one in which his team lost, he seemed to take some accountability for the loss saying, “I didn’t know it would turn into a big deal. I definitely regret it. Whenever it takes away from our team, I regret it. It wasn’t the smartest move.”

But, it would be more than hurt feelings that he’d have to deal with. The NBA also got wind of the tweet, and apparently decided to make an example of Smith, fining him $25,000.

Yes, even though he expressed sincere regret over it, even before the fine and on multiple occasions, the NBA still fined him, and pretty heftily. It has many questioning what right, if any, the NBA has to do such a thing. After all, by fining Smith, they’re saying that they have some sort of right to his Twitter account and that he’s accountable to them for what he puts up there. But is he?

It’s an interesting question, and definitely a two-sided one. On the one hand, it’s J.R. Smith’s personal Twitter account. What right does the league have to say about what he tweets, posts, or does in his personal time? It was a fairly harmless picture to begin with and in basketball as with every other sport, players have done far worse in their personal time and not have had such severe repercussions. On the other hand, team executives and the league do have a right to say what players have to do in their personal time, such as when it comes to things like risky, albeit legal, behavior. So where is the line drawn, then? And does the NBA really think that what a player does in their personal time is any reflection on them?

What do you think? Did J.R. Smith deserve the fine, and should the league have a say over players’ personal Twitter accounts?

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