The Internet went crazy when this showed up on Twitter:
That's an NFL team sending out a tweet that features the most heinous racial slur available. (Well, technically it features the word "NLGGERS," but there's a lower-case L in there.) The team even went so far as to put that racial slur on the back of its jersey, an apparent tacit endorsement of a word that reminds us of the ugliest moments in our nation's history.
Nobody on the Patriots' staff had anything to do directly with this happening. Nobody in Foxboro sat down in front of a computer and typed "N..." etc. until this showed up. This happened because of a script:
Any of the Pats' million Twitter followers who RT'ed that got a custom jersey. The Pats thought this would be a good idea. It wasn't. It opened the door to the Internet, including somebody so dedicated to making the Patriots look stupid they used a Twitter account with a word that looks like a horrible racist slur but has a slightly different letter to avoid spam filters.
This tweet sat untouched on the Pats' Twitter feed for over an hour, racking up RT's. We can imagine somebody sitting in the Pats' offices searching for the tweet, unable to find it amidst the other 7,000 tweets automatically fired off by the script. (The account stopped auto-tweeting at 9:38. Twitter jail? Somebody realizing this was a bad idea?)
When you put yourself at the mercy of the Internet's stupidity, things like this happen. Don't put yourself at the mercy of the Internet's stupidity.
Update: The Patriots apologized for the tweet being sent.
We apologize for the regrettable tweet that went out from our account. Our filtering system failed & we will be more vigilant in the future.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 14, 2014