Houston Rockets cut Social Media Manager Chad Shanks free a day after he posted an in-game tweet to the Rockets’ team account that featured an emoji pistol next to a horse and text suggesting the demise of the Dallas Mavericks.
Although the post was meant to be amusing and was fairly harmless the general public actually had some issues with it as did Mr. Shanks’ bosses.
In his own words, Mr. Shanks explained that he didn’t mean to do anything wrong. However, posts that are considered hostile or threatening or feature wording such as “kill,” “lynch” or “burn” or showcase firearms, swords or knives is no-no in athletics. And, because his post could be deemed as “fighting words,” there is no First Amendment help here.
Shanks told the Houston Chronicle, “I didn’t mean to advocate violence toward animals; just let my emotions get the best of me in a jab at the Mavs that was not very well thought out. I wish there would’ve been another method of punishment, but I have no ill feelings toward them. I loved my job.”
The Mavs did succumb to the Rockets but got an apology from the Rockets.
Shanks concluded, “I never meant to offend anybody. I attempted an admittedly edgy jab at the Mavericks’ expense and it did not go over well with everyone. The organization supported my efforts to make the account one of the best in the NBA by pushing the envelope, but they deemed this too far.”
The good news is that Mr. Shanks found his way to ESPN’s Dan LeBatard‘s radio show to help out as a temp with his social media. Dan paid Chad $500.00 out of his own pocket. Dan’s a good dude.
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