Twitter Cautionary Tales: College Football Player Drops the N-Word On Obama During Sandy Hook Memorial, Gets Booted From Team
There's never a right time to be racist. There's also never a right time to be insensitive to a recent tragedy. And there's really never a right time to be both, especially in a social media forum like Twitter.
So let's just say that now former University of North Alabama football player Bradley Patterson had a really, really bad day on Sunday night when he decided to take to Twitter to express his displeasure with President Obama's speech (live from Newtown, CT, site of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre) interrupting his Sunday NIght Football. (The nerve of some presidents, huh, Bradley?)
The story goes like this:
The 49ers and Patriots were in the middle of the first quarter, when NBC (and pretty much every station that even brushes up against news coverage of any story) switched its feed from the game over to President Obama who was speaking at a vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Apparently, Patterson was either (a) unaware that the game was actually being telecast on NBC Sports Network, (b) unable to work his remote control, or (c) watching the game on an over the air, non-cable television with rabbit era antennas, because he saw the president's speech as deprivation of his beloved football.
Like millions around the world, he opted to vent his frustration on Twitter. It did not go well:
"Take that n___ off the TV, we wanna watch football!"
Word travels fast on Twitter and less than 45 minutes after his post, Patterson received a call from his coach telling him he wasn't allowed to come back to the team.
The university, top down, basically called out Patterson for being a complete and utter racist shitbag (my words, not theirs). Mark Linder, the school's Athletic Director, sent out tweet saying, "Thx 2 everyone who brought to our attention. @UNAAthletics does not condone. He is no longer a member of the team." UNA President Dr. William Cale said the comment was a disgrace to the university:
"If they happen to be watching this broadcast, I want them to know I'm deeply saddened by what was done and the adverse impact it has on our university and probably him as an individual," said Cale.
Patterson joined the team as a walk-on after the fourth game of this season. Not that any college football is worth keeping on your team if he's dumb enough and narrow minded enough to tweet and believe what Patterson wrote, but on the "are you worth the trouble?" scale, a midseason walk-on is barely worth a few late parking tickets, let alone a tweet calling the president the N-word.
The fun really began in the follow up by the local news, in which Patterson attempted to erase his racial epithet with profuse, delusional apologizing:
"I wasn't planning on all this happening; it just got too serious and out of hand," said Patterson.
Um, too serious and out of hand? It was a ten word tweet, not a gradual five hour coke binge. Continuing...
"It really didn't occur to me until I started thinking about it late last night that I realized what I got myself into, and I realized I couldn't get myself out of it without at least asking for an apology," he said. "I want to send out thoughts and prayers to all the children and teachers that lost their lives last Friday, and may God be with them."
...as long as any tributes don't interfere with my football game!
Patterson went on to claim that he is not a racist.
"No, I was just not thinking and way over my head," he said. "I just want them to know that I ain't like that. I was raised better than that, and I just got in over my head."
Again, um, in over your head? Dude, it's Twitter. Some of the least intelligent people in the world are able to handle Twitter without obliterating their football career and damaging their future. You weren't operating a nuclear submarine, you were tweeting.
"I put that on Twitter. I can't take it back, and it's always going to be in the back of somebody's mind that I said that, but I can't make them forgive me," he said.
It will ALWAYS be in the back of Google's mind. Good luck when future employers do a search on your name and this story comes up.
He apologized to his former teammates as well:
"I just want to tell them I'm sorry for everything that went on. I really ain't like that. I ain't racist. I wasn't thinking last night when I put it on there, but I'm sorry to all the guys. I let them down and just don't give up on me," Patterson said.
First, I'm sure your sick walk-on skill set will be sorely missed, Patterson. Second, if you're going to claim that you are not racist, it's better for your look to utilize proper grammar. Using the word "ain't" twice within five words is like leaving a racist blood sample behind at the "I'm not racist" crime scene.
Finally, Patterson apologized to President Obama.
"I want to apologize to President Obama for my outbreak last night. What I said was uncalled for, but I didn't even stop to think what he was saying before it was sent. If I could go back right now, I would change it. I wouldn't hesitate to do so," he said.
Outbreak? Dude, apologize for your English, please. And it's good that you wouldn't hesitate to change that tweet. I know using a big word like "hesitate" had to hurt your brain.
If you want video of this specimen, here you go:
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.