New England Patriots' twitter gaffe

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sj-roc
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Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:28 pm

Scene: Late afternoon in the Office of the Social Media Marketing Manager for the New England Patriots.

Manager: So, we were talking the other day about creating a promotion we can use on twitter. Did you come up with anything?

Intern: Totally. You're gonna love this. As you know we lead the NFL in twitter followers — and we're closing in on a million. So I figured, let's promote this with a #1MillionPatriots hashtag.

M: Hmm, ok, but that doesn't really have much "oomph" to it.

I: Oh, there's more. When we reach a million, we have a treat for the millionth follower.

M: Great, what did you have in mind?

I: For the millionth follower, we'll send them a "congratulations" tweet with a digital jersey.

M: "Digital jersey"? What do you mean by that?

I: Oh, it's just a picture of the back of our jersey with the person's twitter handle on the name plate and the number 1 on it. We've even got Gronk to put a handwritten thank-you message on it and everything: "Thanks Patriot Nation! #1MillionPatriots", with his autograph. Check it out. (hands him his tablet showing the picture with "winner's twitter handle here" placeholder on the nameplate)

M: Hey, that looks pretty good! But won't it be tough keeping track of all the new followers? How will we know who's number one million, what with how fast they'll be joining as it gets close?

I: Oh, that's the best part, we don't have to manually count the people. It just keeps track by itself and it'll even send the tweet out to the winner automatically. We already have the text for the tweet ready and everything: "Thanks for helping us become the first NFL team with 1 million followers! #1MillionPatriots".

M: Cool, we oughta get some good press from this. Let's make it happen.

I: WAAAYYYY ahead of you. I was afraid we wouldn't get to promote it in time before we got to a million, so I went over your head and put it all in place this morning. Last I checked 10 minutes ago we were only like, five thousand away from a million, so that tweet should be going out to the winner anytime now.

M: Oh, ok. I would have preferred signing off on it before you did that, but I guess there's not much that could go wrong.

And so:

(Mod note: Best not to post that website as it shows the word and illustrates the jersey)
Sports can be a peculiar thing. When partaking in fiction, like a book or movie, we adopt a "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" for enjoyment's sake. There's a similar force at work in sports: "Willing Suspension of Rationality". If you doubt this, listen to any conversation between rival team fans. You even see it among fans of the same team. Fans argue over who's the better QB or goalie, and selectively cite stats that support their views while ignoring those that don't.

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KnowItAll
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Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:05 pm

ouch

is this for real??
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South Pender
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Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:04 pm


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WestCoastJoe
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Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:07 pm

Nothing can go wrong, can it? Nah ...

Why not? Because it's automated.
..............

If something can go wrong, it ... will go wrong.

Better keep the humans involved.
.............

Still kind of unbelievable that a pro sports organization would trust automation and the electronic world, to this extent, without thinking the concept through.

http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/i ... d-patriots

http://sports.nationalpost.com/2014/11/ ... ist-tweet/

Our National Post blanked out the N word, thankfully.

Some sites showed the word.

Even using the word in a discussion or in an explanation is unacceptable in my view. Using it gives it a life, and gives it currency, in my view.

Thanks for posting, sj. Strange stuff happens in this world ...
John Madden's Team Policies: Be on time. Pay attention. Play like hell on game day.

Jimmy Johnson's Game Keys: Protect the ball. Make plays.

Walter Payton's Advice to Kids: Play hard. Play fair. Have fun.

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sj-roc
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Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:40 pm

WestCoastJoe wrote:Nothing can go wrong, can it? Nah ...

Why not? Because it's automated.
..............

If something can go wrong, it ... will go wrong.

Better keep the humans involved.
.............

Still kind of unbelievable that a pro sports organization would trust automation and the electronic world, to this extent, without thinking the concept through.

http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/i ... d-patriots

http://sports.nationalpost.com/2014/11/ ... ist-tweet/

Our National Post blanked out the N word, thankfully.

Some sites showed the word.

Even using the word in a discussion or in an explanation is unacceptable in my view. Using it gives it a life, and gives it currency, in my view.

Thanks for posting, sj. Strange stuff happens in this world ...
I wavered a bit on how to handle posting that. I felt the image had no place here as an embed so I just gave the link as a way of keeping it off this site, yet conveying the controversial aspect of it. The image itself whose link I posted came from a tweet posted by an accredited reporter in (IIRC) the NY area. No problem with the link getting axed and censored versions offered.

Of course it didn't *really* happen exactly the way I portrayed. For one, they were tweeting personalised digital jerseys @ not just the 1,000,000th follower, but anyone who followed and tweeted about the Pats as per their request. The Pats presumably both were aware of the risk of people with rogue handles trying to stir the pot, AND would have had some sort of auto-filter in place to pre-empt this sort of thing — otherwise there would almost surely have been many other such gaffes surfacing — but it CLEARLY failed in this instance. It seems they were quick to act on it and remove the offending tweet from their feed but not before it was screen-capped by the aforementioned reporter, and likely plenty of others, because they have a million followers, right? LOL.

The debate about the word can be divisive. It appears in some literature from earlier times when different, less enlightened views and attitudes prevailed. Should these works be banned altogether? Or just no longer printed, except with the offending word removed and/or modified? Should original prints be destroyed, defaced or otherwise modified to vanish the word? Lots of questions that could be posed, but not so easily answered for some.
Sports can be a peculiar thing. When partaking in fiction, like a book or movie, we adopt a "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" for enjoyment's sake. There's a similar force at work in sports: "Willing Suspension of Rationality". If you doubt this, listen to any conversation between rival team fans. You even see it among fans of the same team. Fans argue over who's the better QB or goalie, and selectively cite stats that support their views while ignoring those that don't.

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WestCoastJoe
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Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:58 pm

sj-roc wrote:
WestCoastJoe wrote:Nothing can go wrong, can it? Nah ...

Why not? Because it's automated.
..............

If something can go wrong, it ... will go wrong.

Better keep the humans involved.
.............

Still kind of unbelievable that a pro sports organization would trust automation and the electronic world, to this extent, without thinking the concept through.

http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/i ... d-patriots

http://sports.nationalpost.com/2014/11/ ... ist-tweet/

Our National Post blanked out the N word, thankfully.

Some sites showed the word.

Even using the word in a discussion or in an explanation is unacceptable in my view. Using it gives it a life, and gives it currency, in my view.

Thanks for posting, sj. Strange stuff happens in this world ...
I wavered a bit on how to handle posting that. I felt the image had no place here as an embed so I just gave the link as a way of keeping it off this site, yet conveying the controversial aspect of it. The image itself whose link I posted came from a tweet posted by an accredited reporter in (IIRC) the NY area. No problem with the link getting axed and censored versions offered.

Of course it didn't *really* happen exactly the way I portrayed. For one, they were tweeting personalised digital jerseys @ not just the 1,000,000th follower, but anyone who followed and tweeted about the Pats as per their request. The Pats presumably both were aware of the risk of people with rogue handles trying to stir the pot, AND would have had some sort of auto-filter in place to pre-empt this sort of thing — otherwise there would almost surely have been many other such gaffes surfacing — but it CLEARLY failed in this instance. It seems they were quick to act on it and remove the offending tweet from their feed but not before it was screen-capped by the aforementioned reporter, and likely plenty of others, because they have a million followers, right? LOL.

The debate about the word can be divisive. It appears in some literature from earlier times when different, less enlightened views and attitudes prevailed. Should these works be banned altogether? Or just no longer printed, except with the offending word removed and/or modified? Should original prints be destroyed, defaced or otherwise modified to vanish the word? Lots of questions that could be posed, but not so easily answered for some.
Lots of unacceptable words in old works of literature.

I guess one way to look at it is to not give currency to them by spelling them out.

I seem to recall as a young child learning some bad words, then ... Shouting at each other not to use certain words, but shouting it out clearly, all the while thinking we got away with using them. LOL

Thanks for posting it, sj. The Patriots f***ed up.
John Madden's Team Policies: Be on time. Pay attention. Play like hell on game day.

Jimmy Johnson's Game Keys: Protect the ball. Make plays.

Walter Payton's Advice to Kids: Play hard. Play fair. Have fun.

TheLionKing
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Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:42 pm

Embarrassing for the Patriots and the league.

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Toppy Vann
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Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:52 pm

I'm not sure it is all bad at all.

Not a lot of us would have foreseen that as that was likely a one in a million chance of being a winner.

Blacks use that word all the time amongst themselves. Many black people find it wrong but some among friends feel it is fine for them to use as it's part of how they talk and they don't mean it as a slur.

We're getting too politically correct in North America constantly looking for offense yet ignoring some real gaffes entirely like the old western movies on TCM that portray Indians and Blacks in a really bad way and without disclaimers that these aren't historically accurate. How the US could possibly have used the code name Geronimo for the killing of bin Laden when Geronimo was fighting to keep the lands of their people and this was known to the President - Obama astounded me yet native Americans only made a minor deal of it but go nuts at the Redskins name.

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sj-roc
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Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:35 pm

Toppy Vann wrote:I'm not sure it is all bad at all.

Not a lot of us would have foreseen that as that was likely a one in a million chance of being a winner.

Blacks use that word all the time amongst themselves. Many black people find it wrong but some among friends feel it is fine for them to use as it's part of how they talk and they don't mean it as a slur.

We're getting too politically correct in North America constantly looking for offense yet ignoring some real gaffes entirely like the old western movies on TCM that portray Indians and Blacks in a really bad way and without disclaimers that these aren't historically accurate. How the US could possibly have used the code name Geronimo for the killing of bin Laden when Geronimo was fighting to keep the lands of their people and this was known to the President - Obama astounded me yet native Americans only made a minor deal of it but go nuts at the Redskins name.
Toppy,

My initial post (which was intended somewhat in jest) might have given the impression, but my second post in this thread clarifies that they didn't do it for just the 1,000,000th follower to sign up. They were doing it essentially for *everyone* who retweeted their own tweet. It seems they had some sort of filter in place to prevent something like this from happening — which makes sense because I'm sure there would have been other, shall we say inappropriate handles, but for some reason in this case it failed. If it had initially begun in the way I suggested it's prob not that likely it would have ended the way it did. But they opened up the floodgates, so to speak — and they got soaked.

It seems like the account with the objectionable handle (which still exists at this writing, despite what I've read in some accounts) might have been deliberately set up for this as it had only two tweets when I just checked it moments ago: the retweet of the Pats' initial invite that triggered the controversial response and one other from the same day that looked like a test. At any rate it seems like someone was deliberately targeting the Pats and hoping to trip them up. And it worked. IMHO there were likely others who were trying the same and they probably "did it for the lulz" as the kids like to say. Perhaps even competing amongst themselves to see who could embarrass the team the most. Some people just REALLY like trolling.

Also, I'm not sure if you meant it in such fashion but I would disagree that it's "too politically correct" to not use, or to not condone use of that word.
Sports can be a peculiar thing. When partaking in fiction, like a book or movie, we adopt a "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" for enjoyment's sake. There's a similar force at work in sports: "Willing Suspension of Rationality". If you doubt this, listen to any conversation between rival team fans. You even see it among fans of the same team. Fans argue over who's the better QB or goalie, and selectively cite stats that support their views while ignoring those that don't.

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Toppy Vann
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Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:48 pm

I got what your post was about but posting the link to the word for me is not anything any should apologize for. That was where I felt we are getting overly politically correct. I feel you gave the right warning and if someone is going to be offended they'd not go there.

I'm all for eliminating any attacks or references to people's ethnic background or sexuality or slurs.

I was noting though that the debate on the use of the n word in the black community amongst themselves continues even now with some saying it must be never be used (I agree with this) and others who say it is fine as that is how they speak to their friends.

I was abhorred by a Japanese comedy show I saw where they mimic blacks and use that word.

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sj-roc
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Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:50 pm

Well it looks like the Montreal Canadiens didn't learn from the Pats' twitter gaffe about a year and a half ago. The Habs ran basically the exact same twitter promotion for having reached a milllion followers — automated tweets that put the names of their followers on the backs of electronic jersey images — and got equally disastrous results because of some rogue twitter handles. It's EXACTLY what happened to the Pats in Nov 2014 and like the Pats, the Habs had to roll out the mea culpas.

http://globalnews.ca/news/2536730/montr ... backfires/
Sports can be a peculiar thing. When partaking in fiction, like a book or movie, we adopt a "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" for enjoyment's sake. There's a similar force at work in sports: "Willing Suspension of Rationality". If you doubt this, listen to any conversation between rival team fans. You even see it among fans of the same team. Fans argue over who's the better QB or goalie, and selectively cite stats that support their views while ignoring those that don't.

TheLionKing
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Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:35 pm

This is a season to forget for the Habs both on and off the ice.

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