It's been a rough week for Bernard Berrian, in the departments of both football and public relations. It's not getting better, either.
First, on Sunday, Berrian caught just one pass as his Vikings lost to the previously winless Chiefs. Then, after the game, he told a fan on Twitter to "sit down n shut up," and later learned that that fan was an Iraq war veteran who uses a wheelchair because he lost both of his legs in combat. The fan, John Kriesel, also happens to be a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Berrian didn't know any of that when clicking "send" on his angry tweet, of course. He later apologized and Kriesel took it in stride, but by then, the situation had gathered a lot of media attention, none of which was good for Berrian.
On Tuesday, popular NFL blog Kissing Suzy Kolber poked a little fun at the whole thing, making up obviously satirical tweets in which Berrian responded harshly on Twitter to the Pope, Steven Hawking, the Dalai Lama and an adorable little puppy named Marshmallow.
Where's the link to that, you ask? I can't give you one, because Berrian, his legal people and his PR people have threatened legal action against Kissing Suzy Kolber if it didn't remove the post. It has since been removed.
I remember reading the post, and I thought it was funny and obviously, I knew that these weren't real tweets from real people. It couldn't have been more clear that it was satire. The post -- and this was stated clearly -- was not poking fun at Berrian, but poking fun at what KSK felt was a media overreaction (including from this site) to the whole thing.
Team Berrian wouldn't let it stop there, though. In response to Berrian's cease-and-desist, KSK offered a reasonable explanation, a public clarification that the fake tweets were in fact fake, the opportunity for Berrian to respond on the site, and to donate all ad money generated by the post to Berrian's favorite charity.
They declined or ignored all of that, and got what they wanted. The post was taken down. But now Berrian gets additional negative media attention (this headline should do the trick) and to be regarded as a legal bully who can't take a joke. It's hard to see how Berrian wouldn't have been better off if he'd just let it go after apologizing to Kriesel.
Berrian is the eighth-leading receiver for the Vikings, unless you exclude running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, which would make Berrian the sixth-leading receiver. He's playing a one-year contract that pays him $1.9 million.