Athletes on Twitter – Top Ten Gaffes

Press conferences and post-match interviews are often the source of great soundbites, but thanks to social media athletes can now provide a round-the-clock insight into their lives, changing the way they interact with fans.

In the case of Twitter, athletes can “tweet” their thoughts in no more than 140 characters, and for all the mind numbingly dull updates, there’s always the chance that someone posts something they rather wish they hadn’t.

Here’s a look at ten of the worst Twitter gaffes…

10). Despite having a talented team for the past few seasons, the San Diego Chargers repeatedly fell short of reaching the Superbowl. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie suggested that the quality of the canteen’s food was partly to blame for the franchise’s lack of success. It didn’t go down well the Chargers, who promptly fined Cromartie $2,500 for criticizing the organization.

9). In 2009, Phillip Hughes became the youngest Australian batsman to score a Test match century since Craig McDermott when he plundered South Africa’s bowling attack for 115 runs in Durban. Hughes went on to tally 160 in the second innings, establishing himself as the youngest player in history to score centuries in both innings of a Test match. Hughes could seemingly do no wrong. However, the 21 year old has failed to reach three figures in the five-day format since, and last summer he infamously made the headlines after “tweeting” about his omission from the Australia side for the third Ashes Test. This was hours before an official announcement was due, giving England plenty of time to alter their plans ahead of the match. Hughes didn’t feature again as Australia slumped to a 2-1 series defeat.

8). Danny Gabbidon’s use of punctuation – or lack of – was as shoddy as West Ham’s performance in a 3-1 home defeat to Bolton. What was meant to read as an apology on his Twitter page was misinterpreted as the central defender slating the club’s supporters. A follow-up message clarifying what he actually meant came soon after, but Gabbidon has not been seen on Twitter ever since.

Foul-mouthed “tweets”

7). With Tottenham striker Darren Bent growing increasingly frustrated over the club’s inability to reach an agreement with Sunderland over his proposed move to the Stadium of Light, Bent’s emotions finally got the better of him. The England international made his feelings quite clear in a series of messages directed towards the Spurs board, and in particular chairman Daniel Levy. Bent was reportedly fined two weeks’ wages for the outburst, but the transfer did eventually go through.

6). Mike Bacsik was most renowned for surrendering Barry Bonds’ record-setting 756th home run on an historic night in San Francisco in 2007. That was until Bacsik – a Dallas Mavericks fans – “tweeted” a derogatory remark about San Antonio’s Hispanic population following the Spurs play-off victory in April. The former Washington Nationals pitcher issued a swift apology, but was fired from his job at a Dallas-based sports radio station nonetheless.

5). Kevin Pietersen was fined an undisclosed amount following his outburst after being informed of his omission from England’s limited overs squad for the ongoing series against Pakistan. The South African-born batsman has struggled for form since recovering from an injury, but the selectors decision to leave him out of the team did not go down well Pietersen.

4). Tim Bresnan’s appetite was the cause of some good-natured banter with England team-mates Graeme Swann and James Anderson, but the sturdily built Yorkshireman decided enough was enough after an unknown user posted a doctored image of a particularly bloated-looking Bresnan. “Brez” escaped with just a warning however.

Personal attacks on Twitter

3). Less than a week after Pietersen’s outburst, Hampshire captain Dimitri Mascarenhas decided it was his turn to take a pop at the ECB. Chairman of selectors Geoff Miller was in Liverpool to cast an eye over Hampshire’s match with Lancashire last week, but apparently failed to acknowledge Mascarenhas, prompting a scathing reaction from the England one-day specialist. With their skipper still suffering from a long-term Achilles injury, Hampshire opted to fine the burly all-rounder £1,000 rather than suspend him.

2). After a crushing 37-7 defeat to the San Diego Chargers, disgruntled Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson had some choice words for first-year head coach Todd Haley. Johnson insinuated that his father was better qualified to be the team’s coach than most people in the league and lashed out over Haley’s lack of experience playing the game. If that wasn’t enough, when another user cited an unsavoury incident at a nightclub involving Johnson, the running back “tweeted” an angry response that included a homophobic slur. The two-time Pro-bowler was handed a one-game ban, forfeiting roughly $600,000 before the Chiefs decided to release him.

1). England Under 19 cricketer Azeem Rafiq was dropped from the side for the country’s second Test match against Sri Lanka for violating team rules. Coach John Abrahams decision provoked a profanity-laced response from Rafiq, and one that was available for all internet-viewing public could see. Consequently, the youngster was banned from all forms of cricket for a month and fined £500.

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