Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, who is also president of the NBA Players Association, is a pretty sharp individual and has represented his side well in the ongoing lockout. But even smart guys can make dumb mistakes, and Fisher made a doozy as the NBA was canceling the first two weeks of the season.
Fisher thought that it would be a great idea if players flooded people's Twitter timelines with the catchphrase "Let Us Play" and the hashtag #StandUnited. The NFL Players Association used a similar tactic last spring during that league's protracted labor dispute.
But the responses were totally different because perceptions of the two leagues and their athletes are totally different. NFL players are in a violent, often debilitating sport where contracts aren't guaranteed and fans are virtually rabid in their passion. Conversely, NBA players are considered spoiled and pampered in a driveway sport that nets them goo-gobs of guaranteed money for playing hard sometimes, which makes them much less sympathetic characters.
The public didn't react to Fisher's initiative by criticizing the owners for locking out the players. For that matter, casual observers are just as likely to think the players started the fight by asking for more money and going on strike. Fans expressed their anger toward players, telling them to take the deal … or worse.
Former Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin couldn't take the abuse showing up on his timeline and became No. 1 on the list for "Most Infamous Tweets by an Athlete," replacing Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall.
Martin, who signed a contract to play in China this season, fired off a host of Tweets attacking his "haters," calling them out their name, threatening to kick their asses, talking about their mamas and so on. Then he unleashed the knockout: "All Haters Should catch full blown Aids and Die! Do the world a Favor! and rid us of ya all!"
Later, Martin tweeted that he, in fact, "didn't write that about the aids!" Then he deleted the account.