“So they barred me for being too good a player.”
– Michael Keaton as Bill Blazejowski in Night Shift
I was temporarily banned from Twitter the other day. A habitual line-toer, it was the first time I’ve ever had my social media privileges revoked. I must be moving up in the world. Either that or I’m now eligible to run for President.
You see, Tiger Woods (6.5 million Twitter followers) had wrecked his car earlier that morning and America was in shock. Our pride and joy, one of the greatest athletes of our generation (who we all once despised if you recall), had totaled a loaner SUV on his way to a local, California course.
Woods was slated to do some promo work that day but he never made it. In fact, he might never make it again.
The wreck was bad. His car tumbled over multiple times. Most media outlets were late in reporting the news, trying to get all their facts together, a rarity for the modern journalist. The accident happened at 7:12 am PST but it wasn’t until hours later that we knew anything certain about the incident.
There was news of paramedics using “jaws of life” to rescue Woods from the vehicle, reports which were later debunked as the instrument was used to remove the windshield so they could get to Tiger. Nobody knew how serious it was, until a press conference later that day confirmed a) the injuries were not life-threatening and b) Tiger was responsive when they pulled him from the car.
With Tiger’s history of occasional recklessness, our minds immediately raced to whether he had been drinking or was in any way impaired. Authorities were quick to state they didn’t believe that was the case. It was just an unfortunate incident where one of the world’s most recognizable athletes lost control of his car. He was wearing his seatbelt, airbags were deployed. Tiger would be okay… eventually.
So back to my story about being barred from the internet.
It had largely been reported on social media that the day before, Woods had been playing golf with both Dwayne Wade (9.5 million Twitter followers) and David Spade (2.7 million Twitter followers). Their images were all over the internet. It was as odd a pairing as you’ll find. Wade, now retired, is a three-time NBA champion. Spade, not retired, is one of the funniest men in America.
Spade is a Saturday Night alum and never one to shy away from a tasteless joke so I decided to throw a little (apparently very little) attempt at humor into the Twitter-verse. It was not appreciated.
Before I get to the Tweet, which has since been removed by their insistence, I’d like to say that I sent it at 6:36 pm EST. This was after the local authorities had given their police report and after they confirmed that Tiger, while badly injured, was not dead or dying. It was an unfortunate incident to say the least, one that would require multiple surgeries and one that will require a fair amount of physical rehab from Tiger Woods. But we weren’t mourning the man’s passing. This wasn’t Kobe Bryant dying in a helicopter crash or Christopher Reeves falling off a horse to remain paralyzed and wheel-chair bound for life. Tiger wrecked his car on the way to work. It’s not a national tragedy. It is fair game.
So, I decided to make timely light of the subject. I’m a master at this. Just ask my girlfriend.
Considering Woods had been playing golf with Spade the day before, I Tweeted out a joke I thought one of the more, raw SNL grads would appreciate. After all, Spade has made a living poking fun at people for decades.
And so, I (660 Twitter followers) Tweeted the following…
“Apparently driving his car off a cliff was a better option than seeing David Spade play golf again.” And I tagged David Spade.
Now, I thought that was damn funny. Twitter, however, did not.
Either Spade saw it and reported me to Twitter (highly unlikely – he has better things to do) or the Twitter Police saw it, felt it was in poor taste and asked me to remove it themselves (far more likely – they have nothing better to do).
I was notified that such a text violated Twitter’s Commandment #1 which warns “against abuse and harassment. You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. This includes wishing or hoping that someone experiences physical harm.”
I was far from harassing anyone. I was poking a little fun. Remember years ago, when David Spade poked fun at Eddie Murphy on his Hollywood Minute by calling him a “falling star.” Murphy refused to have anything to do with Saturday Night Live, a show he helped save, for years after that. The point is that Spade, while hysterical, has made a career of hitting below the belt. So, I ragged on his golf swing. I mean seriously, it can’t be all that impressive. It’s not like mine is either. Just ask my coach who for the record, thought both the Spade jab was funny and that my swing can use some work.
Nor was I wishing anybody harm. I didn’t wish ill on Tiger. I wish him a speedy recovery as much as the next golf nut who has watched him dominate the tour for years. The accident had already happened and again, I waited to hear he was at least aware of his surroundings before sending the joke into cyberspace.
The incident reminded me of the Great Partykiller-Richard Marx Twitter Squabble of 2017. I guess the internet is getting a little too sensitive these days. Perhaps our previous president’s attack on civility put social media outlets a little more on edge, but no harm was intended, just a laugh to lighten the times.
I’m pretty sure worse has been said on Twitter over the years. You can’t go a day without Jose Canseco (514,000 Twitter followers) challenging Alex Rodriguez (1.2 million Twitter followers) or Curt Schilling (264,000 Twitter followers) to a boxing match. Isn’t that intent to harm?
I’m not questioning my temporary banishment from the site. I get it. It’s their party and I’m just some schmuck in the corner waiting for the free hors d’oeuvres tray to come back around. I understand their need to police their guests list just like an alert bartender serving drinks responsibly before a customer’s had too much.
Was the joke off-color? Yes. Was it off limits? I’ll let you be the judge. Feel free to answer anonymously in the poll below and don’t forget to think before you Tweet.