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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There's a new tradition in sports: finding out you've been traded on social media.

The latest: Ricky Rubio found out he'd been traded by the Suns last week while scrolling Twitter at his home in Barcelona, he told The Athletic.

  • Kelly Oubre found out he'd been dealt after a workout at the Suns' facility.
  • "I just see people looking at me with like a glare in their eyes," he said. "I was like, hmm. And then Cheick Diallo was like, 'Hey, my boy, check Twitter.'"

Between the lines: In an ideal world, players first hear the news from their team or agent, but the lightning-fast social media news cycle makes that difficult.

  • Most NBA trades involve a bunch of people, ranging from GMs and coaches to scouts and "capologists," who specialize in salary-cap and trade rules.
  • News of the trade often leaks to the media before teams can inform the players themselves, which can lead to some awkward exchanges.
  • Sign of the times: In 2010, Vince Carter found out he was being traded through the ESPN ticker, a service that social media has essentially replaced.
"The first time I found out was over social media, but I was cool with that. My friend texted me and said, 'You going to Memphis?' He texted me Adrian Wojnarowski's tweet."
— Garrett Temple, via NBA.com

The big picture: In addition to being the place where athletes learn about trades, social media is also increasingly where they go to request or angle for one.

  • Yannick Ngakoue got into a public feud with Jaguars co-owner Tony Khan in April, tweeting a clown emoji at him and telling him to "stop hiding" and "just trade me." Four months later, he got his wish.
  • Carlos Dunlap tweeted his way out of Cincinnati last month, publicly calling out the coaching staff and listing his house for sale on Twitter. A few days later, he was dealt to the Seahawks.

The bottom line: Athletes are frequently traded from workplace to workplace, often without their immediate knowledge. It's a unique reality, made all the more absurd when life-changing news is delivered in 280 characters.

Go deeper

Activism defined social media in 2020

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Activism and social movements dominated activity on social media this year, according to numerous data sets provided by big platforms and researchers.

Why it matters: Social media launched over a decade ago as a means of connecting people to friends and helping users express themselves. Now, it's one of the main vehicles used to push political change and raise awareness about social issues.

Ina Fried, author of Login
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Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

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The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."