Social media has provided people with an abundance of unique opportunities to connect and interact in ways never before imaginable. In many ways, the social media boom has provided people with positive and resourceful tools to communicate. Consider the massive uprisings in Egypt where Facebook allowed the masses to rise up and usurp a corrupt regime. Or turn to the rapid growth and movement of today’s news cycle, made possible by social media outlets. These progressions through social media have – by and large – stimulated knowledge and change in ways otherwise impossible without Facebook and Twitter.
While the merits of social media are evident, such platforms have also provided a platform for people who may have been better off speaking to their dog, rather than millions of followers. This is most evident in athletes. It is a perfect storm, really: large egos, mass followings, and competitive personalities. Athletes live in the moment, in person and on the internet. Over the past several years, we have witnessed plenty of spur-of-the-moment social media faux pas from our most esteemed sports stars. Some have made us cringe, others have just made us laugh, but all of them have drawn attention. Here is a list of the 10 most memorable, and shocking, athlete blunders in the world of social media.
10 Reggie Bush
@reggiebush: "Everybody complaining about the lockout! Shoot I'm making the most of it! Vacation, rest, relaxing, appearances here and there! I'm good"
As fans and players alike collectively grimaced during an 18-week long NFL lockout in 2011, Reggie Bush was doing the opposite. Bush took to Twitter to express his joy of relaxation and rest during the lockout, while virtually everyone else complained of a football-less existence. A word to the wise: even if you ARE having a wonderful time living la vida loca, don’t throw it in the faces of your fans, who just want a little football to break up their non-locked-out jobs. Save a spot on the beach for us, Reggie.
9 Antonio Cromartie
@crimetime31: "Man we have 2 have the most nasty food of any team. Damn can we upgrade 4 str8 years the same ish maybe that's y we can't we the SB we need"
Ever hear the phrase, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”? Well apparently NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie hasn’t, because if he had, he probably wouldn’t have tweeted about his former employer’s culinary options. Plus, it could be worse. I mean he could be eating bad food AND not be making millions playing the sport he loves. Next time he should just eat your food and be content with his side dish of cash.
8 Chris Johnson
@ChrisJohnson28: "Can these fake Titan fans STFU on my timeline I don't have a regular job so don't compare me to you and I can care less if uthink I'm greedy”
It’s no secret some athletes simply live on another planet when it comes to lifestyle, fame, and riches. But when an athlete, like Chris Johnson, goes out of his way to remind his own fans of that fact, it doesn’t go over very well. Such was the case in 2011 when Johnson was in the middle of a contract dispute with the Tennessee Titans, and apparently garnering grief from the Tennessee faithful over his holdout. Johnson then thought it’d be best to remind his beloved fans that they are “regular” people with “regular jobs.” How would they know what it’s like? We feel ya, Chris. Us regular folk just don’t understand the trials and tribulations of being a pro athlete.
7 Dwight Howard
@DwightHoward: "Omg I need help. Lol. I have to much gas lol. I been rippin all day. Even in the game tonight. I know it's tmi but. I need something lol"
Twitter has certainly bridged the gap between fans and athletes. Fans can interact with their favorite players, gaining unparalleled access into their lives. Even still, there’s a line between insightful access and things no one needs to know. Count Dwight Howard in as someone who flat-out crossed that line. In 2011, Dwight rattled off this gem of a tweet, letting his five million followers know that his biscuits were a-burnin’ during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Perhaps it was a strategy to clear space in the paint? Whatever the case, Dwight likely would’ve been best off not hitting “send” on that tweet.
6 Devin Thomas
@speedybanks16: Twit Pic (above)
We’ve all slipped up and fallen asleep at inopportune times in our lives. Maybe we’ve nodded off in class, or at our desk at work. No biggie, right? Well for Devin Thomas, NFL free agent wide receiver, it was a big deal. In 2010, Thomas took a moment during a team meeting with the Washington Redskins to catch some shuteye. What Thomas didn’t expect was for his teammate, Brandon Banks, to tweet out a photo of him in a full slumber while he was surely was expected to be studying up on the team’s upcoming opponent. It came as no surprise that Thomas was released soon after the compromising tweet. A word to the wise for all you nappers out there: don’t sleep around social media savvy co-workers.
5 Charlie Villanueva
@CVBelieve: "In da locker room, snuck to post with my twitt. We're playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up."
In 2009, Twitter was still at the cusp of its social boom. As such, proper Twitter protocol had yet to be fully established among professional athletes. But you can thank Charlie Villanueva, current Pistons power forward, for helping the league dictate the dos and don’ts of social media. When he was playing with the Bucks, Villanueva tweeted this gem at halftime of a game against the Celtics in 2009. Instead of focusing on his coach, or mentally preparing, Villanueva felt the most important thing at halftime was for him to get on social media and chat with his followers. After the game, all Bucks players were banned from tweeting during games; somewhat of a no-brainer now.
4 Carmelo Anthony
@carmeloanthony: "I got 5k for whoever see @ihatekatstacks and slap the s*** out her pigeon face a**. Real talk. U f***** with the right one now."
3 Richie Incognito
@68Incognito: "Fact: Jonathan Martin told me he thought about taking his own life in MAY 2013 b/c he wasn’t playing well. Told me he felt worthless."
@68Incognito: "Dear Jon Martin… The truth is going to bury you and your entire “camp”. You could have told the truth the entire time."
@68Incognito: "@J_Martin71 Call me on my cell phone. Love you brother. S$%t got crazy but we held it together. #CALLME #FAMILY"
Some people just don’t recognize when something needs to be said and when it doesn’t. Richie Incognito is one of those people. His squabbles with former teammate Jonathan Martin from 2013 have been well documented, as Incognito reportedly threatened and harassed his former teammate. Hundreds of texts between the two have since been released and both sides clearly expressed crude sentiments to one another, but it was Incognito who took the dispute to another level on social media. After being banned by the Miami Dolphins, Incognito felt it necessary to use social media as an outlet for his displeasure. Among his nonsensical rants, Incognito threatened both Martin and ESPN reporters. A month after tweeting to Martin, “the truth is going to bury you,” Incognito tweeted out, “Love you brother.” As Incognito showed us, some things are best left off of the internet.
2 Rashard Mendenhall
@R_Mendenhall: "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never heard speak. We've only heard one side..."
One of the greatest things about this country is the ability to freely express our opinions. Sometimes, however, those opinions strongly contradict the general moral and social beliefs. This was the case in 2011 when one of the world’s most hated and wanted terrorists – Osama bin Laden – was found and killed by American troops. While death is never something to be celebrated, Americans everywhere rejoiced, or at least exhaled over the death of a man responsible for orchestrating the September 11th attacks on the United States. Former NFL running back Rashard Mendenhall was not among those celebrating, however. Instead, the former Steelers star took to Twitter to express his overall displeasure in the reaction, reminding us we had only heard one side. No stranger to controversial tweets, Mendenhall has also compared the NFL to “modern-day slavery.”
1 Paraskevi Papachristou
@papaxristoutj: (Translated) "With so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes from the West Nile will be having homemade food."
There are amusingly bad tweets and offensive tweets on this list. But this tweet by former Greek Olympian Paraskevi Papachrstou was downright horrendous. During the 2012 Summer Olympics, the triple jumper tweeted that the mosquitoes of the West Nile must be happy to have “homemade food,” referring to the Africans in Greece for the Olympics. Papachristou claimed it was a poor attempt at humor and that she didn’t mean to offend anyone, but no matter how you cover it up, that was just flat out racism. Last I checked, that doesn’t go over too well, especially on social media for all to see. The offensive tweet certainly landed Papachristou in some hot water, as she was booted off Greece’s Olympic squad before entering competition.