According to Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports, San Francisco 49ers running back Anthony Dixon posted a tweet claiming that he is preparing to face the "She-Hawks." For those who don't quite understand, Dixon and the Niners will travel to play the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Sept. 15.
The only thing Dixon accomplished here is providing the Seahawks with unnecessary motivation to win.
Dixon has since deleted the tweet, seemingly realizing the negative headlines that his words would garner. While it's no secret that the 49ers and Seahawks are bitter rivals, these comments have inevitably drawn negative light upon the NFL for the tone of casual sexism in the name "She-Hawks."
Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report offered his take on the issue:
The "She-Hawks" Anthony Dixon, really? You realize you're alienating half of your fan base?— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) September 12, 2013
Unfortunately, Freeman's right.
Using insults like "She-Hawks" for the Seahawks or "Cowgirls" for the Dallas Cowboys isn't comical, nor should it be. There's not much to laugh about when the punch line to a joke is referring to how feminine a team's qualities are.
Does Anthony Dixon owe the NFL community an apology?
There may not be any females in the NFL, but in no way does that make the sex inferior. The fact that we even need to have this conversation is almost as mind-boggling as why the tweet was posted in the first place.
Comments like this, whether intentionally insulting to women or not, will shine a negative light on the NFL community, effectively alienating a certain demographic. Even when it's a comment with no meaning—"She-Hawks," for instance—it never results in anything positive.
To be clear, I don't believe Dixon is a sexist individual, nor should anyone after reading this tweet. The fact of the matter is that he's a professional athlete with a larger platform to express his views than the average human being, and he needs to know better than to post comments that could be perceived in such a negative light.
Unfortunately, the tweet was posted and the NFL community now has something to be upset about. Perhaps this is a time that we can convince Twitter to add a new message before every tweet we want to post goes through.
"Are you sure this is smart to say?"
Right, Anthony Dixon? Right, K.J. Wright?
According to Adam Lewis of SportsPressNW.com, Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright read and responded to Dixon's tweet with a social media message of his own. Wright quickly deleted it, but while up, it called San Francisco the "forty whiners."
Let the rivalry resume.
During the 2012 NFL regular season, the 49ers and Seahawks met twice, per the design of being in the same division. The NFC West foes split those two games, allowing the rivalry to grow even stronger as no victor emerged.
For that reason, the question remains: Why would Dixon offer up any measure of motivation when the rivalry is reason enough to show up and play?
What's most puzzling about the tweet isn't just why Dixon would add more fuel to the fire, but who was behind it. Dixon is a quality player who could earn reps on virtually any team in the NFL, but he's currently the fourth-string running back on the 49ers' depth chart.
In fact, Dixon hasn't registered more than five carries in a game since Jan. 1, 2012.
This isn't to slight Dixon's ability, but it's always questionable when a player who is unlikely to see the field for an extended period of time makes controversial comments. Motivating his team is one thing, and Dixon may be a quality locker room presence, but he's currently behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James on the depth chart.
At this point, his attempt at an insult backfired and did nothing more than motivate the Seahawks and paint his own team in a negative light. This comes just eight months after 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver made controversial comments about homosexuals during the 2012-13 NFL playoffs, per Martin Rogers of Yahoo! Sports.
That's the exact opposite of what San Francisco needed entering a game with so much on the line.
49ers Have Something to Prove
If the 49ers are to defeat the Seahawks on Sunday, San Francisco will remain the best team in the NFC and Seattle will continue to be an up-and-coming force that teams take seriously. If Seattle defeats San Francisco, however, there will be a different result.
San Francisco will be left with two consecutive losses to a team that is not only a rival, but also direct competition for the NFC West title and a Super Bowl berth.
Who will win?
As previously alluded to, the 49ers and Seahawks split two meetings during the 2012 regular season. San Francisco won the first of two, taking a 13-6 victory that revolved directly around both sides' defensive prowess.
The second time the Niners and Seahawks met, Seattle won 42-13. 42-13.
The 49ers may have reached the Super Bowl, but the last time they met the "She-Hawks," they lost by 29 points. Marshawn Lynch ran the ball 26 times for 111 yards and a touchdown, while Dixon carried the ball twice for eight yards.
Something tells me the wrong player is talking trash.
There's a genuine possibility that San Francisco will win the game, especially after Colin Kaepernick threw for more than 400 yards during Week 1. With that being said, Dixon insulting the Seahawks is like a player losing 42-13 but running for eight yards on two carries and bragging about it.
San Francisco needs to remain focused, and after this tweet, all it is facing is an even greater uphill battle.