You can usually tell the age of an athlete by how and where messy gossip about them is revealed. TMZ is one thing. Having a “scorned lover” display your personal life on the internet is another — and a sign that you’re probably a member of Gen Z who doesn’t know the value of non-disclosure agreements.

Zion Williamson and Anthony Edwards are examples of what not to do.

“I made comments in the heat of a moment that are not me, and that are not aligned with what I believe and who I want to be as a man,” Edwards recently wrote in a statement on social media. “All women should be supported and empowered to make their own decisions about their bodies and what is best for them. I am handling my personal matters privately and will not be commenting on them any further at this time.”

Why was this needed?

Edwards was put on blast after a woman posted text messages in which he encouraged her to get an abortion.

We did not need to know this. It’s none of our business. But, now we know because Gen-Z thinks everything is for the internet.

“I generally advise my clients, specifically my celebrity clients, to get NDAs in place. I advised a client just last week, as a matter of fact,” Kimberly K. Haynes, CEO of the OMBI Group recently told Deadspin. Haynes’ firm specializes in dealing with athletes and entertainers “(NDAs) ultimately create a legally formed relationship that one uses to protect ideas and, in these cases, information from being shared with others.”

Athletes of a certain caliber usually don’t find themselves in situations like this. Age could play a part in that, given that ones who keep their noses clean usually aren’t infatuated with social media the way Gen-Z is. According to a 2021 article from Forbes, 97 percent of Gen-Z (born between 1997 and 2012) use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration; 65 percent use social media to find entertaining content; and 61 percent are specifically interested in watching more video content.

If your life revolves around your phone and social media, then that’s where the gossip is going to be.

“It’s hard, man. I’m 20, 22. Have all the money in the world. It feels like all the money in the world. It’s hard,” Williamson said during the summer when he was on Gilbert Arenas’ podcast, Gil’s Arena. The conversation was about Williamson’s diet, but the words he shared could have easily been describing what we learned about his love life during that time. In the offseason, the news that Williamson was soon going to be a father didn’t go over too well when another woman released screenshots and pictures of them together. That was followed by more women taking to the internet to add their two cents.

“I’m at that point now because of certain things, I’m putting back the wisdom around me,” Williamson said on the podcast. “I don’t want to say older — because they’re defensive — but I’m putting people around me with wisdom. Put me on game to certain things. And just go from there.”

Having the people in their lives sign NDAs would help these two. Or, would it?

“While breaching an NDA can bring potential lawsuits or monetary penalties, a misconception is that they are 100 percent ironclad,” Haynes said. “If for some reason the information exposed is already out in the public domain, they can be hard to litigate.”

Like settlements, sometimes people assume that NDAs are used as a way to keep people quiet about something that’s been done wrong. While that can be the case, NDAs in certain situations for certain people can keep you off the gossip blogs, as private moments and conversations stay that way. Hopefully, Williamson and Edwards have their paperwork together by now. But, even if they don’t, some Gen-Z athlete somewhere should be learning from their mistakes.

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