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The perils of Periscope

If you've never used or seen Periscope, it's a live video streaming platform Twitter created. It's easy to use and can be used anywhere, to film your kid's soccer game, say, or your afternoon at the beach.

In the world of soccer Twitter, the king of Periscope is longtime soccer agent Ron Waxman. Fox Sports analyst Alexi Lalas used to do #InBedWithAlexi but now it's #AskAlexi. Recently, Fox Sports host Rob Stone and Lalas did a Periscope when they car-pooled from their homes in Manhattan Beach -- the epicenter of the American soccer establishment -- to the StubHub Center for the USA-Canada game.

That idea of a little chit-chat was what 23-year-old Paris St. Germain defender Serge Aurier and Mamadou Doucoure, his "pote" or best buddy from his youth days at Lens, had in mind on Saturday night, #AskSerge, if you will, between Aurier showing off his talent as a rapper.

Puffing on his chicha, Doucoure acted as the interviewer, feeding questions from the 23-year-old Aurier's Periscope followers to his famous buddy, sometimes seriously and sometimes joking around. One thing led to another and after a few nasty jokes by Doucoure, Aurier started getting nasty.

Doucoure (reading question): "Is [Angel] Di Maria a good guy?"
Aurier: "Oh, he's an idiot."
Doucoure: "He's a good guy, he said."

Doucoure (again reading question): "He says, "Does [Coach Laurent] Blanc ever get mad?'"
Aurier: "He's a [homophobic slur]."

If Aurier, who first claimed the interview was a fake, and Doucoure thought no one would repeat what they said, they were badly mistaken.

First of all, more than 3,500 followers who had nothing better to do on their Saturday night were watching the Periscope.

Within minutes, a post popped up on a forum page on the gaming site Jeuxvideo.com with simply two lines -- the two juiciest quotes from Aurier.

Someone then asked if anyone had a copy of the Periscope, and sure enough within a half hour a poster with the handle of Alloresto said he had copied it.

A debate went on for a few minutes -- should they post it before Tuesday's big PSG-Chelsea game? -- before Alloresto uploaded the full video on YouTube for everyone to see ...



By Sunday morning, Blanc, Aurier's teammates and PSG management had seen the video, and by Sunday afternoon, Aurier was suspended from the team. Videos of Aurier's Periscope totaled more than 1 million views.

On Monday, Blanc was asked to address Auriergate and the player he had signed from Toulouse after the 2014 World Cup, where he starred for Ivory Coast.

“We can think whatever we like -- this is a democracy and we are free to think about things, have our opinions," Blanc said. "but this boy ... two years ago, I committed myself to bring him to Paris, and seeing what I saw yesterday, that's all the thanks I got. That's pitiful. Pathetic."

Blanc did not sound surprised by what happened.

"The player is a big boy," he added. "He can do what he wants and handle the consequences but he has penalized the club: through the image he’s put out there and what he said. I know this new generation of players and many of them spend their time feeling sorry for themselves and apologizing for things they’ve done – but perhaps they should be thinking about what they’re saying rather than looking to apologize.”

The crazy thing is that while all sorts of players, coaches and journalists came forward and said what a nice guy Aurier is -- less than a week early Le 10 Sport published a story about how Aurier planned on paying the debts of the club he played for before moving to Lens at the age of 14 -- it wasn't the first time he's gotten in hot water for using social media.

After Chelsea knocked PSG out of the Champions League last year, Aurier, who was injured and watching the game at home, posted a Facebook video of him watching the game, yelling out, "This here is Panama," and calling Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers a "dirty son of a b****.” UEFA slapped Aurier with a three-game suspension.

Nor is Aurier, who was born in Ivory Coast but raised in the projects of suburban Paris, the only French player to get in trouble over the use of social media -- and his misguided faith in a member of his so-called entourage.

"L'Affaire de la sextape" -- the case in which French star Karim Benzema is accused of helping to try to blackmail Bleus teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sextape -- is alleged to have started when Valbuena entrusted a "tech-savvy" friend with transferring his data from one cell phone to another.

Social media consultants who work with French players cautioned that incidents like those that happened with Aurier were rare, given all the time players spend using social media. But as one player, Rennes defender Romain Danze, told France Football, social media is here to stay.

"Social media is an adventure," Danze said. "Once you're on, it's instantaneous. It's addicting. You quickly learn the game."

Or you think you do.
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