Drew Lock

There’s a common “don’t feed the trolls” sentiment often expressed on social media, with the argument that high-profile brands or personalities should simply not engage with little-known accounts that criticize them. Sometimes, though, a quote-tweet dunk on even “teamfanbunchanumbers” pays off. That’s what happened Saturday with the official Twitter account of the US Open tennis tournament, which chose to respond to a “Not a sport” comment from 3,000 follower-account @seahawksfan2314 in response to an ESPN tennis highlight (from Wimbledon, not the actual US Open, which starts August 29) from @SportsCenter:

That is a very funny and deserved response at someone whose entire social media handle is about being a Seattle Seahawks‘ fan (combined with a four-digit number, as all the obvious Seahawks fan names were already taken). Discussions about if something is or isn’t a sport are obviously stupid in most cases anyway, but they’re particularly stupid when they come from a random anonymous Twitter account and include no further argument beyond “Not a sport.” (And when they’re not even an original thought, but an attempt to curb the enthusiasm of those who might be enjoying a tennis highlight.) And this led to a further exchange:

And another notable tweet:

The Seahawks are exceptionally mockable after trading Russell Wilson for Lock (seen above with the Denver Broncos in January), as Lock might not even wind up being their starter. And if he is, yeah, those games might not be that watchable. So this was a logical dunk for a tennis body (even if they were the third person in here). And Twitter responded, providing more than 26,000 likes and more than 6,000 retweets as of 4:30 p.m. Eastern, less than two hours after the tweet. That led to this follow-up:

There are a few things worth considering in terms of the general applicability of this particular situation. This would be much less fun if this was a regular thing from this US Open account, as that would dive hard into “Please like my sport” territory. It would also be less fun if brands in general regularly did this; there are times and places where it works, but it shouldn’t be a whole repetitive social media strategy.

And this one avoids some of the “punching down” criticisms because it’s taking a swing at someone who already took a very public and unnecessary swing of their own at an entire sport. If “@seahawksfan2314” had only posted “I don’t like tennis,” it would be foolish for a tennis brand to engage with them. Not liking tennis is a valid stance, as is not liking spam. But when they’re publicly trolling ESPN and @SportsCenter’s followers with a claim that tennis “isn’t a sport,” they’re asking for pushback. We don’t need to see this all the time, but this was a good response here.

[US Open on Twitter; photo from Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.