The Houston Rockets eliminated the Dallas Mavericks from the NBA playoffs with a 103-94 win in Game 5 on Tuesday.
However, before the game ended, the official Twitter account of the Rockets sent out a tweet that angered some people and it cost one employee their job.
The tweet in question included a gun emoji pointed at horse emoji (presumably representing the Mavericks, whose mascot is a horse).
The emojis were accompanied by the text, “Shhhhh. Just close your eyes. It will all be over soon.”
Here is a screengrab via TheBigLead.com.
After the game, the Mavericks addressed the tweet calling it “not very classy” while wishing the Rockets luck as they moved forward.
The Rockets later issued a tweet apologizing for the original tweet.
On Wednesday, Chad Shanks, the Rockets’ digital communications manager, accepted responsibility for the tweet, apologised, and indicated that he had was no longer working for the team.
I did my best to make the account the best in the NBA by pushing the envelope, but pushed too far for some and for that I apologise.
— Chad Shanks (@chadjshanks) April 29, 2015
A spokesperson for the Rockets confirmed to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that Shanks had been let go.
While the tweet was certainly more aggressive than typical pro sports team banter and definitely not very sportsmanlike, it was not like Shanks tweeted a picture of a real gun being pointed at a real horse. They were emojis and by their very nature emojis are supposed to be silly caricatures.
It is difficult to believe that anybody thought the Rockets were actually threatening a horse or anybody associated with the Mavericks.
Still, the tweet did anger a lot of people and it’s clear that’s not what the Rockets want as the perception of their social media brand and in this case, it cost somebody their job.
The Houston Rockets have not responded to a request for comment.
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