Dan Ellis Twitter Fiasco: What the New Tampa Bay Lightning Goalie Should Do

Alison Myers@AlisonM_110Correspondent ISeptember 7, 2010

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Dan Ellis is in hot water over remarks he made on his Twitter account.
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Dan Ellis is in hot water over remarks he made on his Twitter account.Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Dan Ellis is one of the most popular NHL players on Twitter. As of this writing, he has 11,373 followers and 1,150 tweets.

Normally, he is very well received by NHL fans. Last night, however, he wrote a series of tweets that angered followers who saw them. These tweets discussed his player salary and his feelings about it.

Here’s a sample:

“If you lost 18 percent of your income, would you be happy? I can honestly say that I am more stressed about money now than when I was in college.”

“I can’t explain it, and I never thought it would be the case, but it is true. Money in no way makes you more happy or makes life much easier.”

In a time when the economy is on shaky ground and recovering slowly, Ellis’s tweets did not go over too well. Within a short time, many Twitter users began a trending topic called “Dan Ellis Problems." The tweets under this topic were made up of users mocking what Ellis had written and sarcastically talking about the unfortunate life he must live as an NHL player.

Here's a sample:

"I have to get the 5 series BMW instead of the 6 series. #DanEllisProblems"

"Had to move into new house with only six bedrooms and three car garage. #DanEllisProblems"

I did not participate in the Dan Ellis Problems topic. Instead, I got to thinking about the consequences of what Ellis said.

In the offseason, Ellis signed a two-year, $3 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. For the mathematically challenged, that’s $1.5 million a year. Not too shabby, right?

Well, this is probably one thing Ellis should have kept to himself. From what I have read of his account before this fiasco, he seems like a good guy. I never would have thought he lacked the common sense to not complain about his salary. There are so many Americans who are either unemployed or making pennies for a miserable job, but he’s making over one million a year and complains?

My first impression is that this very tweet makes it sound like Ellis is ungrateful and still needs more, despite having a big house and a fancy car (a Jaguar, for the curious).

This could also be a huge public relations disaster for Ellis and the Lightning. As I said, Ellis has over 11,000 followers on Twitter. How many of these people will stop following him and talk badly about him in the future?  What will Tampa Bay General Manager Steve Yzerman think of the situation, and how will he handle it?

NHL fans are not exactly a group to forgive and forget.

Look at Dany Heatley, who is still being called a murderer seven years after a car accident that killed teammate Dan Snyder.

Consider Todd Bertuzzi, who will probably only be remembered for ramming Steve Moore head first into the ice and ending his career.

Ellis tried to apologize for his tweet shortly thereafter, but probably only put himself in more hot water. Dan Ellis Problems was spreading like the swine flu, and hockey bloggers such as Puck Daddy were already putting their minds to their keyboards.

Here is what Ellis said after the fact to try and keep his reputation intact:

“Simple solution to the sensitive-unfollow! I am not holding a gun at your head to follow so do yourself a favor and protect your blood pressure!”

OK, Dan, now you just sound like a teenager who would write that to ward off “haters”.

At the same time, I feel partially obligated to defend Ellis.

The NHL CBA and overall financial situation have cast a negative light on the league in recent years. Between the lockout that canceled the 2004-2005 season and the recent Ilya Kovalchuk contract fiasco, there’s really no reason to be happy with the way the NHL has handled financial matters.

Furthermore, we see on the surface that Ellis makes $1.5 million a year and think he has no right to complain. But what most people forget is that he has a wife, two kids, and a house to take care of. Can anyone really say they know what his expenses are? Is it possible that maybe they have some debt that they need to take care of?

This controversy also cements the fact that we are in a Big Brother society, which I find to be creepy. We live in a world where employers can disqualify you for a job based on a Facebook profile picture or even a comment your friend wrote on your wall. This is a society where you are expected to be politically correct 100 percent of the time, lest you offend anyone.

Ellis had a point when he said:

“From now on I will just tweet stuff like…driving to rink…drinking coffee…watching TV. That will be fun to read?!?”

It just goes to show that we often think we can write whatever we want on social media, but we really can’t.

Ellis and anyone who has a social media account is being watched all the time. Gone are the days when people only know of you from the person they see in public. Now, anyone can Google you and learn any ugly detail about your life in less than 10 seconds.

Is this really the kind of society we want to live in?

Going forward, I think Ellis should issue a genuine apology for what he said. Yes, he can delete his tweets from last night, but they will probably not be forgotten. Nothing disappears into thin air anymore. Apologizing is the best way he can remedy this situation.  

I also think that he is a grounded guy who will learn from this situation and watch what he says in the future.

Well, at least I hope so.


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