The Pittsburgh Steelers know a thing or two about social media and just how it can rear its ugly head and cause numerous distractions. Whether it was Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live shenanigans in the 2016 playoffs, or Martavis Bryant throwing his teammate, JuJu Smith-Schuster, under the bus via Instagram last season.
If those two events taught the team a thing or two about how social media can go south in a hurry, Sean Davis apparently didn’t get the memo.
Davis is now facing a civil lawsuit holding that he disparaged a 16-year-old boy in a Snapchat video taken while the teen was working at a Cranberry Township fast-food restaurant.
Davis’ representatives aren’t putting much stock in the lawsuit, calling it “frivolous” and “baseless.” During the video on Snapchat Davis says, “Chick-fil-A got little kids. This kid is like 8 years old. No wonder the lines be so long at Chick-fil-A.”
The family is seeking financial compensation on claims of slander, libel, intentional infliction of emotional distress and cyber bullying. The release from MBK Sports indicated that negotiations before the lawsuit was filed were unsuccessful.
The family claims that those “false and defamatory statements in the video” have caused the teen “severe emotional distress” including humiliation, embarrassment and physical ailments, such as headaches, depression, sleeplessness and anxiety.
The video and Davis’ reaction “were made with malice and without any reason to believe that the information conveyed had any basis in truth,” according to the suit.
Davis denies all charges, but this incident should serve as yet another reminder to his fellow players to be safe while on social media. For those who remember the pre-social-media NFL, it’s hard to comprehend what these players are looking to do, but as individuals try to create their own ‘brand’ they’ll sometimes reveal their entire lives on social media just to gain a following.
The Steelers have some serious social media presences on their roster. Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Le’Veon Bell and Vince Williams all post regularly and have huge followings on different platforms.
Either way, here’s hoping this is the last issue involving a member of the team and issues on social media — but somehow I doubt it will be.