By Mike McIntyre
Wanted: new PR manager for Alexandr Dolgopolov.
It seems as though the 19th ranked Ukrainian has made a very poor judgement call with his use of social media. Dolgopolov posted the following picture on his Instagram account. Be warned that the picture is not appropriate to be viewed by children or in ones workplace.
The general consensus on Twitter on the translation of the words beneath the picture is, "childhood is over, bitches."
The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw this was that Dolgopolov's Instagram account had to have been hacked. I mean, what professional athlete would post such a vulgar and offensive photo on their public account? Then I saw the following article from changeovertennis.com and realized this is not the first time that Dolgolpolov has posted questionable materials online. I guess he just doesn't get it.
The fact that this picture is still up on Instagram more than 24 hours after it was posted is just as mind-blowing as the original post itself. Does Dolgopolov not have someone in his inner circle who might have suggested, "hey dude, maybe this isn't such a great idea?"
The two main issues (among the many) that I have with this image are the fact that it sexualizes children and that it is openly displayed in a place that children could view it. If I were a young fan of Dologopolov's and I saw that picture, I would have plenty of questions for my parents about its content. While the internet did not yet exist when I was a young tennis fan, I could never imagine finding something like that posted by one of my idols like Pete Sampras or Stefan Edberg. They both possessed two things that Dolgopolov appears to lack - common sense and class.
Of course I'm sure if social media existed back in the day, we would have had plenty of controversies similar to this one. Imagine Johnny Mac with Twitter during the 1970s and 80s! I'm sure Ilie Nastase and Jimmy Connors would have gotten in all kinds of trouble as well. But that was then and this is now.
Pro athletes are so much more in tune with the watchful eye of the media and of the damage that social media can have on ones public image. Dolgopolov seems to be oblivious to this fact. With his morals appearing to be about as low as his service toss, Dolgopolov - one would think - needs to seriously reconsider if having an Instagram account is such a good idea. An apology and removal of the picture in question might be nice as well.