Over the past year or so, Twitter has emerged as a great way for athletes and celebrities to build a connection to and communicate with their fans. It’s easy, it’s free, it breaks down the middleman of the media - with all their pesky tough questions and biases - and it can be as much of a one-way or two-way street as one pleases. Even as a business tool, it can help athletes build brand awareness and loyalty amongst fans, helping at the negotiating table with potential sponsorship opportunities and perhaps even with contracts.
(Standard NFL punishment for Twitter infractions.)
Unless, of course, you do it wrong. The thing about Twitter is that everything you say on it goes out for the entire world to see, and stays there. And undoubtedly, such things tend to be found at the worst possible times - for the average Joe, that means when potential employers are doing due diligence or when an ex’s friend happens across something unflattering you drunkenly, angrily Tweeted on a Saturday night at 3AM (uh, oops). Of course, with an athlete the stakes are higher. Especially when you’re a Washington Redskins scrub who hasn’t even played a game, who called out his team’s fans as “dimwits.” Who’s the dimwit here, exactly?
Skins rookie LB Robert Henson might not have actually activated for a game yet this year, but he’s already got the pro athlete sense of entitlement down pat. After Skins fans booed the team in their sloppy, ugly 9-7 win over the lowly Rams on Sunday, Henson reacted the way a veteran diva athlete would - by blaming the fans:
Following the victory, Henson tweeted: “All you fake half hearted Skins fan can .. I won’t go there but I dislike you very strongly, don’t come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!!”
He also wrote: “The question is who are you to say you know what’s best for the team and you work 9 to 5 at Mcdonalds.”
“I won’t go there?” Dude, you just went there. Henson was forced to apologize on his Twitter account (which has, predictably, disappeared) and to reporters with a trite agent-written statement about respecting the fans’ passion, etc. etc. - you know, the usual garbage. At least we know how he really feels.
But with Henson struggling to stay on the team even now, making the NFL minimum $310,000 salary this year with no guarantee of future employment - the chances of him ending up at that very same McDonald’s he accused the fans of working at are surprisingly high. Karma’s a bitch Mr. Henson, beware.