The Biggest Twitter Disasters in Sports
Is there any more deadly publicity minefield than Twitter? While spoken words certainly have the capability to fatally wound a person's reputation, generally these words need a microphone to do their worst.
With Twitter, a celebrity or athlete can flush their careers down the toilet in 140 characters or less. Deleted and followed up by an apology?—it doesn't matter. Your politically incorrect rant, your profanity, your bigoted words are all going to be showing up in Google search results for eternity.
Twitter has been around for just six years and only recently become the popular, chaotic playground of the opinionated that defines it's role in pop culture—but...man...the social media application has been quite the partner in crime for foot-in-mouth disease. In every sport, in every league, there are dozens of examples of tweets gone wrong.
Some ill-advised tweets merely warranted a quick apology, others have led to fines, public rebukes and serious career trouble.
These are the biggest Twitter disasters in sports.
20. Metta World Peace Wants You to Enjoy Labor Day
Okay, this wasn't exactly a disaster for Metta World Peace, but that's only because the term "disaster" is applied with a sliding scale. MWP's entire NBA career has been marred by public relations disasters, so being oblivious about Labor Day hardly qualifies.
But imagine if someone you think more highly of in terms of talent and ability, but also really hate, tweeted the same thing. Like Bill Belichick! It would have been a disaster.
19. The Kings: You're Welcome, Everyone
Apparently nobody remembered saying thank you.
After defeating the No. 1 seeded Canucks in the first round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs, someone in the Kings organization took to Twitter to say "You're welcome" for defeating Vancouver. Not really a great idea, considering how sensitive Canucks fans can be.
The tweet set off a firestorm of responses, some more creative than others.
18. Lolo Jones Sparks a Firestorm
American hurdler Lolo Jones sure knows how to grab headlines these days!
First she reveals that she's a virgin during an interview on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and then in the wake of the Aurora shooting, she brings up America's love affair with firearms after the American men's archery team lost gold to Italy at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Personally, I thought the firestorm (get it?!) that was set off by the tweet was fairly ridiculous. Jones obviously wasn't making the connection between the two and Americans are good at shooting guns because we have lots of them.
People just like to be outraged about things, and we are living in the golden age of outrage.
17. Jim Irsay Has His Minion (Rob Lowe) Drop the Manning Bomb
Whether or not legendary Peyton Manning would return as the quarterback of the Colts was the single biggest question of the 2012 NFL offseason. Colts owner Jim Irsay probably felt caught between a rock and a hard place, which is why he had actor Rob Lowe do his dirty work for him.
Lowe's tweet about "his people" (see: Irsay) hearing that Manning was going to retire is what really got people talking seriously about Manning's departure. Within days Manning leaving Indianapolis went from "unthinkable" to "inevitable."
16. Dwight Howard DMs a Fan
Things haven't been going well for Magic superstar Dwight Howard. He had to undergo season-ending back surgery, and nobody is giving him what he wants, dammit! Poor baby.
Well, Howard decided to bend the ear of a fan via Twitter direct message and explain that the Magic are a bunch of lying liars who lie. Sorry Dwight, all the DMs in the world aren't going to get the public back on your side.
15. Reggie Bush's Draft Day Goodbye to Saints
When the Saints drafted running back Mark Ingram first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, Reggie Bush quickly tweeted his goodbye to the organization. He then followed it up quickly with a tweet about the NFL lockout and then back-pedaled in his next tweet:
"Right about now we would be slaving in 100 degree heat, practicing twice a day, while putting our bodies at risk for nothing.
"FYI last tweet was a joke!"
Bush shouldn't be allowed on Twitter.
14. Stefon Diggs on Jeremy Lin
For whatever reason, when the nation was gripped by "Linsanity," many in sports were unable to resist the urge to make jokes about his Asian heritage. Maryland football recruit Stefon Diggs tweeted something so stupid that I couldn't even re-type it without feeling like an idiot.
I don't think he meant any harm by it, but it was just really stupid. An Asian-American is playing basketball and the only frame of reference you have for a joke is Chinese food? I hope he goes to some classes in College Park.
13. Agent Attacks Avery over Support of Gay Marriage
Image via Deadspin
After his client Sean Avery appeared in an ad supporting gay marriage, his agent, Todd Reynolds, decided Twitter was the best place to address the situation. Although, one would think that an agent would know better than to take to Twitter to discuss hot button issues.
Reynolds, obviously no fan of the gays, tweeted:
"Very sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender “marriage”. Legal or not, it will always be wrong."
"But I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. This is my personal viewpoint. I Do not hate anyone."
"To clarify. This is not hatred or bigotry towards gays. It is not intolerance in any way shape or form. I believe we are all equal…"
Then his father, Don Reynolds, came to the defense of his son by equating gay marriage to dudes marrying horses.
12. Reggie Bush Tweets About Nazis...Sorta
Dolphins running back Reggie Bush isn't one to filter himself on the Twitter machine. In May 2012, Bush tweeted Didier Drogba was going to "hit a Nazi check" after a game during UEFA 2012. Apparently Bush was too busy collecting illegal benefits and sinking the football program while at USC than attend a history class.
Apparently he received an instant backlash on Twitter and he initially responded by tweeting: "Oh goodness bunch of sensitive cry babies on twitter! It's just jokes people send me your address and I'll personally FedEx you some tissue"
Bush must've heard from someone who signs his paychecks shortly after because the tweets were deleted within minutes.
11. Jason Whitlock Is Predictably Stupid
Jason Whitlock inspired plenty of outrage, as usual, when he tweeted a reference to the penis size of (then) Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin in February, 2012.
Whitlock has a reputation of being a race-baiting instigator, so anyone who was shocked by the tweet obviously isn't familiar with his work. Eventually he issued a half-hearted apology, and that's being very generous. He then compared his "comedy" to the late, great Richard Pryor in the process. Typical Whitlock.
Oh, and by the way Jason Whitlock! You, sir, are no Richard Pryor.
10. Rashard Mendenhall: SMDH
Only Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall knows what he was truly thinking when he decided to take to Twitter to defend Osama bin Laden in the wake of his death in May, 2011.
Mendenhall tried to "clarify" his tweets after the fact, but he's got to have a gold fish swimming in that head of his if he thought Twitter was the best place to voice his displeasure about bin Laden not getting a fair shake in the press.
He insisted he wasn't trying to incite controversy, but only an idiot would tweet what he tweeted and think it would go unnoticed. But, then again, Mendenhall is kind of an idiot.
9. Carmelo Anthony Offers 5k to Followers to Slap a Woman
A few years ago, (then) Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony offered up $5,000 of his own greenbacks to the first person to show him video footage of someone slapping Kat Stacks, a professional groupie who had earned the ire of Melo for her exploits.
It's fine to disagree with Ms. Stacks lifestyle choices, but it's never okay to offer a cash prize for slapping a woman. Melo quickly deleted the tweet and claimed his account was hacked, but since his wife was bragging about the incident, it was hard to deny responsibility.
8. Larry Johnson Has Things to Say About Todd Haley
When the Chiefs hired Todd Haley to be their new head coach in 2009, their always disgruntled running back Larry Johnson was predictably disgruntled about the whole situation. Johnson tweeted:
“my father got more creditentials than most of these pro coaches. … google my father!!!!!!!”
“My father played for the coach from “rememeber the titans”. Our coach played golf. My father played for redskins briefley. Our coach. Nuthn”
The Chiefs were probably unhappy about the whole situation as it was, but then Johnson decided to up the ante…[see next slide]
7. Larry Johnson Has Things to Say About Someone Else
On the same day of Larry Johnson's tweets about his (then) coach Todd Haley, Johnson hurled some unpleasantness at someone else on Twitter. The user reportedly referenced Johnson's infamous incident that involved him spitting on the face of a woman at a nightclub.
“think bout a clever diss then that wit ur [expletive] pic. Christopher street boy. Is what us east coast cats call u.”
“Make me regret it. Lmao. U don’t stop my checks. Lmao. So “tweet” away.”
The second tweet was especially hilarious two days later when he was cut by the Chiefs.
6. Michel Morganella Runs His Mouth After a Loss
Maybe it's just me but, personally, I don't find it difficult to not be a racist pig in real life or on social media. It's actually quite easy for me, but apparently it's more difficult for the knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers among us.
After Switzerland lost to South Korea in soccer during the 2012 Olympics in London, Swiss footballer Michel Morganella took to Twitter to rant about the opposition and had a few disgraceful words for all South Koreans, specifically that they could "go burn" and are "a bunch of mongoloids."
Morganella offered a forced public apology after being dismissed from the Swiss Olympic team.
5. Voula Papachristou's "Joke" Falls Flat
Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was expelled from the 2012 Olympics in London after tweeting a "joke" about African migrants being to blame for the spread of the mosquito-spread West Nile Virus. She also expressed her support for Greece's far-right political party in subsequent tweets.
I think we can all agree that the first tweet may be her idea of a joke, but it's not what country's expect from their Olympians days into the games. And I've always been of the mind that a political opinion requires more than 140 characters to express; therefore, it should be kept off of Twitter.
Papachristou offered a lengthy apology that actually sounded sincere and contrite, so hopefully she's learned a lesson and will have another shot to redeem herself in 2016.
4. Amar'e Stoudemire Misdirects His Rage...Again
Image via @BFerrelli
The Knicks performed abysmally in the 2012 NBA Playoffs, losing in five games to the Heat—and it wasn't even as close as it sounds. Nobody looked good for the Knicks, but nobody looked worse than fire extinguisher assaulter Amar'e Stoudemire when the dust settled on their season.
Obviously Stoudemire was feeling a little testy about the series and his performance even into late June because he decided to respond to a fan on Twitter who suggested he "better come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season."
Stoudemire sent a direct message to the fan that included a couple of choice words. After the public embarrassment, NBA investigation and $50,000 fine, he probably wished he had chosen a couple of less offensive words.
Remember kids: Don't tweet angry!
3. Hope Solo Rants at Brandi Chastain
During the 2012 Olympics in London, Hope Solo, the U.S. women's national soccer team goalkeeper, once again proved that she is an unpleasant person who cannot take the least bit of constructive criticism—remember her Dancing with the Stars exit?
Solo lashed out at NBC soccer announcer, and former teammate, Brandi Chastain via Twitter after becoming enraged by some relatively mundane observations Chastain made during the course of a match.
Solo has gone from rising star and media darling to one of the most unlikable athletes in the country in just over a year.
2. Stevie Johnson Blames God for Dropping Pass
Nobody in football has more excuses than wide receivers—they are always open, and if they don't catch the ball, it's always someone else's fault.
We're all pretty used to that by now, but when Bills wideout Stevie Johnson blamed God for a dropped pass in the end zone during an overtime game against the Steelers in late 2010, he certainly caught some flack for it.
1. Florida State's Tyler Hunter Tweets About Killing Cops
Florida State head football coach Jimbo Fisher made the controversial decision to ban his players from using Twitter after it was announced that police would be investigating the tweets of sophomore defensive back Tyler Hunter.
Fisher's decision certainly made waves, but it was far less controversial than Hunter's tweets about killing cops. At least Hunter didn't try to say his tweets were a joke...