13 Really, Really Bad Sports Twitter Hashtags Gone Wrong

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13 Really, Really Bad Sports Twitter Hashtags Gone Wrong
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Murphy's Law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It's not an exact science, but rather a good general rule of thumb that warns against leaving things up to chance. Anything left to chance is something left with the very significant potential to go horribly awry. 

When it comes to marketing or interacting with fans on Twitter, you're leaving almost everything to chance. The only thing an organizer of, for instance, a Twitter Q&A can control is the hashtag and the questions answered. Beyond that, the rest is left to hundreds or thousands of virtually anonymous strangers with no accountability for the things they say online. 

It's a recipe for disaster under the most ideal circumstances—ask people to comment on the adorableness of a basket full of puppies, and there will be at least a few jags with something terrible to say. Add a controversial topic or person into the mix, and all bets are off. 

Then again, controversy isn't even required. Twitter has a magical way of becoming the proverbial troll under the world's bridge. We all know this by now, which is exactly why people should know better by now. Yet hashtag disasters remain a regular stumbling block in sports—one that reached a fever pitch in 2014. 

Here are 13 relatively regrettable recent hashtag events.

Some tweets NSFW.

Oh Jeah?

American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has a well-earned reputation for being a few fish short of a shoal. With such an obvious weakness, subjecting oneself to the meanness of strangers on social media, like Lochte has done more than once, is a risky proposition.


Everybody Loathes Phil Jones 

In April, Manchester United's Phil Jones participated in a Twitter Q&A that, by that point, someone within the organization probably should've realized was a bad idea. Premier League soccer fans are a very rowdy and reliably hostile bunch best avoided on social media (and probably in life) at all costs.  


Golf Channel's Dream Becomes a Nightmare 

August 2013 was the 50th anniversary of assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. A pretty big deal, huh? Some brainiac at the Golf Channel thought so as well and decided to incorporate the anniversary into its social media strategy. It did not go well


Manchester United's Miss 

In February, Manchester United, a team with no known enemies, hosted a Twitter Q&A with midfielder Michael Carrick. Surprising absolutely no one, the questions that came in skewed heavily toward the negative, with many menacingly mocking in nature. Lessons learned...actually, probably not. 


Puma's Promotion 

In August, a Puma Twitter promotion offered fans the chance to win personalized autographs of their favorite players simply by tweeting them in their Puma gear. It didn't take long for people to get creative...ly mean. 


 Not Nice to Neal 

In March, then-Penguins forward James Neal did a Twitter Q&A arranged and promoted by the team's terrible social media team. He was treated with all the kind of kid gloves deemed appropriate by opposing fans. 


Washington Woes 

In May, Washington owner Daniel Snyder's crack PR team unveiled its latest plan to win the hearts and minds of a nation, asking fans to tweet about their team pride. Naturally, Snyder launched the campaign by publicly taunting a U.S. senator. That sounds about right. 


No Thanks, Steven Gerrard 

Former England captain Steven Gerrard has had no less than two Twitter hashtags devoted to him take ugly turns. In November 2012, it was during a Q&A, and this past July, it was a "thank you" dedication following his announcement to retire from international play. Needless to say, tweeters were merciless. 

 #AskStevieG & #ThankYouSteven

Mark Emmert's Mistake 

The NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, are two of the most villainous characters in all of sports, which made the Twitter Q&A he did on Mike & Mike in April particularly head-scratching. To say that the NCAA's stance on athletes as grateful university volunteers was not well received is an understatement. 


Queens Park Questioning 

In October 2013, Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp was subjected to a nonstop barrage of verbal assaults, many related to 2012 tax evasion charges of which he was eventually cleared, as his Twitter Q&A careened full-speed into the gutter. His face while watching the questions come in really told the tale. 


Florida State Fiasco 

Good luck finding an overall fanbase more passionate and venom-spewing than that of college football. Coming off murky rape allegations, a Heisman Trophy win, a BCS National Championship and a botched burglary of crab legs, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is one of the biggest lightning rods in sports right now.  


Man City's Messianic Miss

In July, a Manchester City PR person with absolutely no foresight decided the best hashtag for a Q&A with winger Jesus Navas was #AskJesus. Ya know, because there’s no other famous Jesus in the entire history of the world. Notta one. 


Goodell's Goof 

The NFL is by far the most popular sports league in the U.S. By contrast, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is one of the most reviled figures in American sports. Combine the sport that everyone loves and the guy within it that everyone hates, and you've got the perfect recipe for Hatorade.  


The abuse was still rolling in months later. 

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