By Dónall Breen - 30 April 2018
Have you ever had to teach one of your parents how to send a text message? Or even worse, post something on Facebook. If Dante’s circles of hell were to be updated for the modern world, this would be one of them. Now imagine Mark Zuckerberg trying to explain how Facebook works to the US Senate. It really was a clash of worlds, elderly politicians vs young tech billionaire.
Which leads me to wonder, how on earth have male dominated sports franchises have even attempted to make rules and guidelines dictating how cheerleaders rock their beach bodies on Instagram? It’s a #Nightmare. A New Orleans’ cheerleader has caused a storm in the US after an Instragram post of her in a one-piece swimming suit got her fired. The strictly enforced NFL rules for cheerleaders prohibit them from appearing nude, semi-nude or in lingerie in a private capacity (despite the same teams often marketing the cheerleader squads in a salacious way at games). It is a puzzling interpretation of the rule.
Many photos on social media these days will involve some sort of semi-nudity as those (clearly more disciplined than myself) share beach shots, gym routines and other such photos. Aside from photos, the guidelines for cheerleaders are bizarrely specific regarding what is appropriate conduct. For example, cheerleaders are told not to dine in the same restaurant as players. OK, that’s a bit harsh. But it goes on to say that if a cheerleader is in a restaurant and a player arrives afterward, she must leave! Naturally, there is no such rule for the male NFL players. This case has thrown such strange rules firmly into the spotlight and forcing the NFL to rethink why they must regulate this ‘illicit contact’.
Speaking of ‘illicit contact’, you couldn’t have missed the Australian cricket player who was caught mysteriously rubbing a ball during a test match against South Africa. The ensuing ball tampering expose has shaken the cricket world to its stumps. The scandal has hit Australia’s cricket team hard, with three players now suspended and many calling for ‘soul searching’ as regards how to deal with cheaters in professional sports teams. Teary press conferences and even the intervention of the Australian Prime Minister has bowled over the Australian people who cannot believe their Baggy Greens could be capable of such deeds. Many feel the players responsible have thrown their country’s reputation under the bus for their own benefit.
Which is exactly what a waiter did who got fired from his job in a Canadian restaurant. His excuse? He was not being rude to patrons, he was just French. À la française! There is nothing like hilariously exacerbating the French stereotype in order to try and (unsuccessfully) save your job.
Another waiter who did manage to save his job was an eight-grade school teacher from Pennsylvania who has now returned to work after being suspended for making and serving pancakes to his students – whilst they were taking state exams. Over 100 of his students protested on his behalf saying he is like a father figure to the hungry students.
Also ravenously hungry are Argentinean mice apparently. Eight Argentinian police officers have been dismissed after claiming that 450kg of marijuana, which disappeared from a police warehouse, had actually been eaten by some naughty mice. In the ensuing trial, Buenos Aires University experts explained that mice wouldn’t have mistaken the drug for food, and even if they had, there would have been hundreds of dead mice in the surrounding area. After hearing this evidence, the officers’ defence promptly went up in smoke and all now face lengthy jail sentences.
They are not the only law enforcement in the Americas facing embarrassment. Three members of Tennessee’s National Guard have been reprimanded after incorporating a dinosaur hand puppet into the historic swearing-in ceremony for new recruits. The decision to discipline the soliders was fossilised after a video surfaced of the incident. The three members of the air force section have been since been temporarily removed from their posts. I am sure their Commander in Chief would not be happy.
On the subject of President Trump, I’m sure he was also unhappy about the Virginian cyclist who was photographed flipping off his motorcade as it drove by her. A photo of the incident was subsequently shared on social media by the lady for all to see. Unfortunately for the expressive cyclist, her employer is a federal contractor and fired her as a result. The consultant is now suing her former employer claiming her freedom of speech has been infringed and has even written an op-ed piece for the New York Times about the incident. The employer has now found itself in the middle of a PR storm.
Similar to the New Orleans’s cheerleader, it shows the dangers for employers who try to discipline employees regarding their private social media accounts. Both cases have caused significant public backlashes against the companies in question.
So, just like Mr Zuckerberg had to explain himself to the US Senate, the reality is that we all should be prepared to explain and justify what we publicly post online. Be that swimsuit photos to our employers, or explaining to your mother why you’ve compared her IT lessons to a circle of hell. Sorry mam! #ThanksForReading from all of us here at GQ|Littler.