Sports stars and their unsporting Tweets

A spate of Tweets by sports stars which have attracted press coverage of the wrong kind, prompts us to remind visitors to this site – celebrity or not – to think twice about putting posts on social networking sites, and remembering that what goes online, stays online.

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The latest to fall foul of social media etiquette – and cause himself a considerable degree of embarrassment at the same time – is British Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton, who has recently announced a moved from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2012 season. 27-year-old Hamilton, who has incurred the anger of McLaren officials for his use of the social microblogging network, condemned Jenson Button for apparently “unfollowing” updates from his account on the site, describing it as a “shame.

Hower, Hamilton was subsequently forced to issue an apology after realising that his team mate had not been following him in the first place. He added that he would try to log on more frequently in future to avoid making a similar mistake. Hamilton's accusation had been relayed to his 1,125,000 followers and only served to highlight the fraught relationship between he and Button. 

This follows a recent, equally high-profile misuse of Twitter by Chelsea and England defender Ashley Cole, who on Tuesday was charged with misconduct by the Football Association following his foul-mouthed outburst on the social networking site. Cole referred to the FA as a "bunch of t***s" after its independent regulatory commission investigating the John Terry racial abuse case cast doubt on his evidence. A statement on the FA's website said: "Chelsea FC's Ashley Cole has been charged by The FA in relation to a Twitter comment which was improper and/or brought the game into disrepute." He has until 4pm on Thursday to respond to the charge … not an ideal situation as this is only 24 hours before England's World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley. In the meantime he has apologised to Chairman David Bernstein, who has accepted the apology and says that Cole is free to play for England.

Former England captain Alan Shearer, however, has stated that he thinks the defender should be banned from the San Marino game.

Former England left-back Graeme Le Saux believes that the FA should make players aware "there are consequences" for inappropriate use of social media. He said "It has become disproportionate, and players just feel they can say and do what they want." Le Ssux is working with the FA to guide players on how they communicate.

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