The Corner

Culture

So Now We’re Too Fragile for Basketball Trash Talk?

We’re not even out of the first round of the NBA playoffs (Go Grizzlies!) and already we’ve witnessed two forced apologies and one termination for “insensitive” comments. First, Portland Trailblazers forward Nicolas Batum apologized for writing “We don’t lose to Spanish players” on a motivational card in the locker room before the first game of the Blazers/Grizzlies series. Batum is French, and Grizzlies center Marc Gasol was born in Barcelona and plays international basketball for the Spanish national team. Apparently, the notion of international rivalries is just too much for some people, so Batum had to say he was “sorry if [he] hurt some people.” I would hate to meet the delicate flower who was actually hurt by that statement.

Fast forward to yesterday, where the Houston Rockets closed out their their arch-rivals, the Dallas Mavericks, in five games. As the clock ticked down, the Houston social media team tweeted something so horrible, so offensive, that it had to be taken down and deleted immediately. I’m going to paste the picture below, but first — TRIGGER WARNING: Animal violence, gun imagery, and cultural appropriation (emoji use).

Yes, the Rockets were putting the Mavs out of their misery by shooting their mascot, Champ the horse. Poor Champ. The tweet — labeled “harsh” by ESPN and “offensive” by NBC News Dallas — was replaced by an apology:

But it gets worse. The apology wasn’t enough. The Rockets actually fired their social media manager, a man by the name of Chad Shanks. One can only imagine how it went down. A laughing, celebrating Chad fires off his tweet, only to turn around and find men in dark suits hovering around his cubicle. Their voices are stern. “The Houston Rockets are a full-spectrum, family-oriented sports entertainment solution. Your implication that Champ was about to die at the hands of an obviously unlicensed, unregistered handgun was insensitive to children, to PETA, and to survivors of gun violence. Pack your things.”

I’m sorry, but if you’re offended by that tweet, delete Twitter, throw away your smart phone, give your computers to charity, and take a vow of technological celibacy. This online world is just too harsh for you. As for me, Chad is now my new favorite former social media manager. I followed you, Chad. Keep tweeting the good stuff.

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