Depending on whom you ask, Twitter is either the worst thing or the best thing to happen to athletes.
If you're asking the fans, it's definitely the best thing.
Not only does Twitter give athletes an opportunity to exercise their comedic chops, but it gives them the chance to troll each other—and the fans. It gives them a chance to color outside the lines a little bit and prove to us that they do have personalities, despite what their over prepared, overly diplomatic news conference responses might suggest.
And sometimes, it gives them the opportunity to make complete and total fools of themselves, to our delight.
To all of the front office officials who haven't yet made Twitter illegal on their teams: Thank you. And to those who have, thanks for robbing the fans of one of the biggest joys in life.
A dark cloud loomed over the NFL after the replacement refs blew a huge call in a September 2012 game between the Packers and the Seahawks.
On the final play of the game, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson heaved a Hail Mary toward the end zone, and Seattle receiver Golden Tate and Packers DB M.D. Jennings both got their hands on it. Both players fell to the ground, still wrestling over the ball, and the replacement refs called a simultaneous possession—so the ball went to the offense and the Seahawks registered game-winning touchdown with no time left.
Replays showed that Jennings had far more of a handle on the ball than Tate did, so the ruling on the field should have been an interception. And as the Packers walked off the field with their 14-12 defeat, none of them were happy about the erroneous ruling.
Packers guard Josh Sitton voiced his displeasure on Twitter:
@ShowtimeTate admit you didn't catch the ball you coward— josh sitton (@jsitton71) September 25, 2012
And just a few days later, the league brought back the real refs. So maybe the power of social media extends farther than we ever imagined.
Hope Solo is just one of those people who shouldn't have Twitter. She's also one of those people who should try really hard to never say anything unless it is something carefully prepared by her PR representative.
Solo—who should probably be known as the U.S. national soccer team's goalkeeper but is instead known as the girl who went on The Today Show drunk—made an idiot of herself via Twitter last July, at the very beginning of the Olympics, when she took some completely unprovoked shots at former national team member Brandi Chastain, who was serving as a commentator:
Lay off commentating about defending and gking until you get more educated @brandichastain the game has changed from a decade ago. #fb
Once you're this iconic, you can say whatever you want. Until then, maybe Solo should lay low.
While most of the world reacted favorably to Jason Collins' admirable decision to publicly come out as gay, then-Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace took the opposite stance.
Collins wrote a lengthy piece for Sports Illustrated detailing his decision, and for the most part, he received widespread support from those in the sports world and beyond. Wallace, however, experienced a severe case of foot-in-the-mouth after posting this:
"All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH."
Wallace deleted the tweet within 30 minutes and quickly followed up with a mea culpa:
Never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don't understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended— Mike Wallace (@Wallace17_daKid) April 29, 2013
Ah, the good old accidental-tweet-that-was-supposed-to-be-a-DM.
It's the oldest excuse in the book, but it makes sense. You're trying to send a private message to someone, you don't have the best handle on the Twitter app on your phone and before you know it, you've accidentally broadcast your thoughts to the entire Twittersphere rather than that one intended recipient.
Luke Donald found himself in this very predicament last September, after an unsuccessful battle with the 18th green at TPC Boston. First, Donald tweeted his own cell phone number (???), and then he tweeted, "[Course architect] Gil Hanse is a [expletive]."
Which was worse?
Donald promptly deleted both tweets and apologized profusely after his third round at TPC Boston.
Tempers flare when the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics meet. Especially during the era when one of those Nets was Kris Humphries.
Last December, a brawl erupted at the TD Garden when Humphries fouled Kevin Garnett. Celtics guard Rajon Rondo promptly came to Garnett's defense, shoving Humphries after the whistle blew. The brawl escalated, technical fouls were issued and both Rondo and Humphries were ejected.
When he got to the locker room, Humphries shared with the world the battle scars he suffered from his fight with Rondo:
Anyone know where I can get a quick Tetanus shot in Boston? http://t.co/mEOYU6gC— Kris Humphries (@KrisHumphries) November 29, 2012
And now that these two are teammates in Boston, things are bound to get interesting.
Thanks to Twitter, if you throw a banana at an outfielder in the middle of a Major League Baseball game, you will get smoked out.
On three: Thanks, Twitter!
A bizarre series of events went down on Sunday, after Orioles outfielder Adam Jones found himself to be the target of a wayward banana in the middle of a game against the Giants at AT&T Park. After nearly being hit with the banana, Jones immediately took to Twitter to voice his displeasure:
I want to thank whatever slap**** threw that banana towards my direction in CF in the last inning. Way to show ur class u jack***.
The world erupted in fury in defense of Jones, forcing the banana thrower to come forward. It turned out to be 42-year-old Alexander Poulides, who insisted that the incident wasn't racially motivated and apologized profusely for the misunderstanding.
The power of social media, ladies and gents.
Jury duty is awful. But it is of some consolation to know that even people like LeBron James can't get out of it.
Even the winner of the last two NBA titles has to perform his civic duty, show up at the court and sit around for a few hours before being sent home. That's why James found himself at a courthouse in Akron, Ohio, last week.
He couldn't resist keeping the people updated on Instagram, and the people were happy to know that even King James can't get out of the misery jury duty entails.
Jury duty time. Time to serve my civic duty http://t.co/7OgkVM74Er— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 8, 2013
Lee Westwood was not happy in the aftermath of this year's PGA Championship.
Not only did he finished tied for 33rd—a very disappointing finish, considering his top-three finish at the British Open a few weeks prior—but the fans at Oak Hill seemed to be particularly out of control, "yelling bizarre phrases after players' tee shots," as ESPN.com put it.
Westwood had had enough. So very early in the morning following the final round of the tournament, he did what any golfer would do in an effort to reach his antagonists: He took to Twitter.
Westwood unleashed a series of about 50 tweets at around 4 a.m. ET—all of which he later apologized for—and while there are so many to choose from, we'll stick with the one that best summarized the outburst:
Come on you girly boy trolls! I've only won just over 2 mill on course this year! Need you to keep me entertained a bit longer than this!
Sports! Where it becomes national news when one marquee player decides to forego his headband in the midst of the NBA Finals.
Last June, we, as the fans, were given the gift of one of the best, most exciting games in the history of basketball. With just 28 seconds standing in between them and the NBA championship, the San Antonio Spurs blew five-point lead, let the Heat to tie the game and eventually lost in overtime, allowing Miami to force a Game 7.
And the Heat's magic was all in the headband. LeBron James famously flung aside his trademark accessory before exploding for a 16-point performance in the fourth quarter, which keyed his team's comeback.
Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson drew the only reasonable conclusion as he watched from afar:
I'm never wearing my headband again either #riptotheheadband— Ty Lawson (@TyLawson3) June 19, 2013
We all love to make fun of Mark Sanchez. It's just so easy.
But be advised: Sanchez hears us. And he can't do much when faced with the harsh realities of fans who hate him, but he can get us suspended from Twitter.
On the eve of the New York Jets' first preseason game of 2013, Sanchez found himself reading his at-mentions on Twitter and found this particularly ruthless one:
Sanchez responded by getting @YOUNGSTOWN4LI4E suspended and by throwing a pick-six to kick off the 2013 preseason campaign.
Last postseason, NBA fans were disappointed to learn that Kobe Bryant wouldn't be suiting up for the Lakers due to an Achilles tear. Little did they know, Bryant would still become very much a part of the opening-round dialogue.
In a very uncharacteristic move, Bryant decided that if he couldn't play in the first round against the Spurs, he was going to tweet about everything he would do if he could play. And the results were amazing.
Bryant—who only tweeted for one game before deciding to just sit back and watch—had plenty of advice to offer his overmatched teammates, but none was as salient as that which was directed toward Pau Gasol:
What I would say if I was there right now? "Pau get ur ass on the block and don't move till u get it" #realtalk— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 21, 2013
Come on, Stephen Jackson. If you're going to use Twitter to threaten another player, at least learn how to spell his name first.
Jackson—who never, ever does anything to make headlines for the wrong reason—found himself in a bit of a sticky situation last December when he decided to use Twitter to insert himself into a tiff between former teammate Metta World Peace and Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka.
Ibaka and World Peace engaged in a brief skirmish during a game, and Jackson felt it was appropriate to, in light of the skirmish, threaten Ibaka's life. So he tweeted:
Somebody tell serg Abaka. He aint bout dis life. Next time he run up on me im goin in his mouth. That's a promise. He doin 2 much.
In a shocking turn of events, Jackson was fined $25,000 and was forced to apologize to Ibaka, the league and the fans.
Like many loyal husbands, New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is willing to go to great lengths to defend his lady. Especially after a jerk of a former teammate insults her on the radio.
Trouble was brewing last March when former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson appeared as a guest on a Houston-area radio show and was asked which former teammate had the ugliest wife. Because Johnson is an idiot, he assumed that if he answered "Vince Wilfork," Wilfork would never hear about it.
Apparently, Johnson was unaware of the existence of the Internet because it only took mere minutes for his former teammate to catch wind of the controversy. And so, Wilfork used Twitter to respond thusly:
@tedj52 your barking up the wrong tree I hear and see everything mother [expletive]
Poor Vince Young. Things haven't come easy to him in the NFL. Once, he looked so promising; mere months later, he was fighting for a job.
But Young wasn't above putting himself out there in the hopes of getting someone to put in a good word for him.
Last December, Young found himself without a job, watching helplessly from home on Sundays instead of watching from the sidelines of a game. It was a steep fall for someone who once was the starting quarterback for the Tennessee Titans.
But when the Arizona Cardinals absorbed a 58-point defeat last December, courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks, Young thought maybe there was something he could do to help. So he tweeted his buddy and Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald the following:
@LarryFitzgerald you know I can help tell coach.
Contrary to popular belief, there are some things that Bryce Harper cannot do.
Bryce Harper may be one of the most exciting young hitters in the world of baseball at the ripe old age of 20. He may have the swing of Babe Ruth. He may be the youngest-ever player selected to the All-Star team, the 2012 Rookie of the Year and the face of the Washington Nationals.
But he cannot do everything. Just ask Marlins left fielder Logan Morrison:
Buy beer... RT @MLB BRYCE HARPER JUST STOLE HOME. What can't this kid do?— Logan Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) May 7, 2012
Those who are aware of Chad Johnson's Twitter presence usually fall into one of two categories: Those who find him endlessly amusing and those who eventually have to unfollow him because he gets annoying.
Sometimes, though, Johnson comes up with a gem like this. And that makes the follow totally worth it.
Lots of us were excited in April 2012 to learn that Titanic, one of the highest-grossing movies ever made, would be available in 3D. Ochocinco was excited about the possibility that the 3D version might end better than the original and had this to say:
"So the movie Titanic is coming out in 3D. Maybe they'll see the f****** iceberg this time…"
Dwight Howard has endured lots of flak of late, for a variety of reasons—but mostly because he spent 2012-13 whining about how he wanted to come to L.A. before spending several months sucking any semblance of team chemistry out of the Lakers before deciding his work was done and jumping ship for Houston.
He takes a lot of criticism, but take note: He can fire it right back.
Howard was uncharacteristically active on Twitter last week, and while he heard from plenty of his fans, he also heard from the haters. One, in particular, tweeted, "U ain't never getting a ring."
To that, Howard shot back one of the best zingers in the history of Twitter:
@uHateBre with that face ion think u getting one either lol.— Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) August 7, 2013
It's safe to say that 100 percent of NFL fans in the world were disgusted with the performance of the replacement refs about a year ago, particularly after they blew a call that proved to be the difference between winning and losing last September.
The Green Bay Packers were the team that came out on the losing end because, apparently, the replacement refs were unaware of the rules of football. And it's safe to say that Packers guard TJ Lang counted himself among those who were sick and tired of the replacement ref-induced madness.
Click here to see his creative suggestion for how the NFL could scrounge up the money to pay the guys who actually know what they're doing. Be warned; he uses a four-letter word.
The warning signs with Johnny Manziel began long ago, months before he got caught for allegedly selling signed memorabilia.
It started in June, when Manziel used Twitter to deliver some of the most hurtful words one could possibly deliver to his fans in College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M.
Manziel, via the Dallas Morning News, tweeted:
Bulls--- like tonight is a reason why I can't wait to leave college station...whenever it may be.
We don't know why he sent it. We can guess why he deleted it. And given the multitude of the PR disasters that have afflicted Johnny Football since, we can surmise that the end of his time in College Station may come sooner than we ever imagined.
Be careful what you wish for, Johnny!
Maybe before he actually won a title, LeBron James tried to act like it wasn't something he obsessed over every second of every day.
Once he did win one, the jig was up.
It's no fun when athletes pretend that winning a championship is just another day at work. It's way more fun to see one of the best players in the history of the NBA react to winning his first NBA championship like a five-year-old on Christmas morning:
OMFG I think it just hit me, I'm a CHAMPION!! I AM a CHAMPION!!— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 22, 2012
And apparently, the 80,000-plus fans who retweeted this found LeBron's disbelief over his own greatness rather charming, as well.