Nine Years Ago Ryan Babel Became The First Premier League Footballer Fined For A Tweet
Nine years ago today Ryan Babel found out how difficult it can be to be a footballer on social media when the then Liverpool winger became the first Premier League player fined for his Twitter use.
In January 2011 Babel was playing for Liverpool during the Reds' 1-0 loss to rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup third round.
In Kenny Dalglish first game back in charge of the Anfield outfit, following Roy Hodgson's sacking, United went ahead through a Ryan Giggs penalty after just two minutes and Steven Gerrard was sent off in the second half.
The decisions by Howard Webb led to criticism from Liverpool fans and Babel took to Twitter with a photoshopped picture of Webb in a United shirt, with the caption, "And they call him one of the best referees? That's a joke. SMH [shaking my head]."
Babel later posted two tweets for damage control, posting, "My apology if they take my posted pic seriously. This is just a emotional reaction after losing an important game," and "Sorry Howard Webb!" but it was too late.
The Dutchman was charged with improper conduct and was fined £10,000 for the Twitter post with regulatory commission chairman Roger Burden saying, "Social network sites, like Twitter, must be regarded as being in the public domain.
"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."
The 33-year-old, who is currently on loan at Ajax, had previously been in trouble with his manager for tweeting about being dropped or a game against Stoke City 'without explanation.'
On Sunday the two sides meet in the Premier League with United hoping to become the first side to beat Jurgen Klopp's team in the league this season.
To date they're the only team to have taken points off their rivals, thanks to October's 1-1 draw and it looks like the Merseysiders will end their run of over 30 years without winning the league title.
Expect a controversial referee or VAR decision on Sunday, it's just unlikely anyone will tweet about it, thanks to Babel.