BOSTON (AP) – Red Sox fans cried foul over an innocuous tweet the team acknowledges was ill-timed – the second social media gaffe by a Boston pro sports team in as many weeks.
The Red Sox tweeted: “So how was everyone’s Monday?” The tweet went out a minute after a Missouri prosecutor announced a grand jury decided not to indict a White police officer in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black 18-year-old.
Hundreds of people pounced, accusing the Sox of being out of touch with a seminal national event.
“Seriously?” responded Georgy Cohen, a digital communications consultant from Somerville, Massachusetts.
“This is what happens when social media managers have tunnel vision,” said Jamie DeLoma, who oversees social media at Quinnipiac University.
On Tuesday, the Red Sox issued a statement conceding the tweet went out at an awkward moment as it was preparing to announce two big free agent signings – Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez – that had thousands of fans abuzz.
“We hope all realize that our tweet yesterday related to baseball news in Boston,” the team said. “We sincerely apologize if it was associated with the troubles in Ferguson. Our hearts go out to all who are suffering.”
Earlier this month, the New England Patriots apologized after sending out a tweet that thanked a follower with a blatantly racist Twitter handle.
The Patriots’ tweet went out automatically as part of a promotion to celebrate becoming the first NFL team with 1 million Twitter followers. It, too, quickly deleted the tweet, but not before it was widely circulated and ridiculed.
Dan Kennedy, interim director of the journalism program at Northeastern University, called the Red Sox tweet “completely tone deaf” and said it points up how teams need to pay attention to what’s happening outside the wide world of sports.
Otherwise, he said, “something hideously inappropriate can happen.”