The Football Association has made an example of Liverpool’s Ryan Babel.
According to ESPN.com, the FA fined the Dutch forward £10,000 for his Twitter posts pertaining to referee Howard Webb.
Following Liverpool’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Manchester United — a match that included both a controversial penalty for United and a controversial sending off of Steven Gerrard — Babel tweeted “And they call him one of the best referees? That’s a joke. SMH [shaking my head]” and included a photoshopped picture of Webb in a Manchester United uniform.
Many, including managers Kenny Dalglish and Ian Holloway, saw the humor in his barbs, but the FA didn’t agree, despite his subsequent apology.
“My apology if they take my posted pic seriously. This is just an emotional reaction after losing an important game. Sorry Howard Webb,” he later tweeted.
The FA took this opportunity to send a message about the use of social networks, as Regulatory Commission Chairman, Roger Burden said, “Social network sites, like Twitter, must be regarded as being in the public domain and all participants need to be aware, in the same way as if making a public statement in other forms of media, that any comments would be transmitted to a wider audience. It is their responsibility to ensure only appropriate comments are used.”
See the controversial photo below.