If you're a public figure, you'd best watch what you say on Twitter. If you're working for a sports franchise and it's part of your position to deal with the public in any capacity, that really goes double. Someone from the Kansas City Chiefs organization found that out in a big way when a snippy direct message to an outraged fan went viral.
Travis Wright, 39, of Lee Summit, Mo., recently sent out a complaint about the Chiefs from his Twitter account -- an account with over 124,000 followers -- far more than the 107,600 who follow the Chiefs' official account.
Someone in the Chiefs organization responded to Wright with a direct message:
"Would help if you had your facts straight. Your choice to be a fan. cc get a clue"
And ... that led to this official apology from the team:
A team spokesperson told television station KSHB that the apology was in relation to the exchange with Wright, and that an employee in the social media department acknowledged making a mistake. The Chiefs declined further comment.
"It shows me that they don't care about the fans, and I wanted to show that to everyone and sort of amplify it," Wright told a local news station, after posting the whole exchange on his Reddit account. "Because if you are in the Midwest, you need to have some Midwestern values, and you need to be able to communicate effectively with the fans -- who are, essentially, the ones paying for everything you have."
Wright, a social media manager himself, said that while he understands the desire to respond in kind when one is attacked, the need to be professional should trump that desire. Ironically, Wright didn't see the apology on his Twitter account, because the Chiefs had blocked him. Technically, the apology was directed to Chiefs fans in general, and not to Wright personally. You could easily say that Wright's depiction of the franchise went a bit over the line, but he was ranting in his capacity as a fan. When you respond in kind as a member of a professional sports organization ... well, someone might be cleaning out his desk today.
We suspect that before this gets too much more viral, Wright will get the personal apology he wants -- for PR purposes if nothing else.
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