Tampa Bay goaltender Dan Ellis has recently found himself in a bit of trouble because of his Twitter account. Recently, he posted several controversial “tweets”, beginning with one regarding Reggie Bush, running back for the New Orleans Saints. Bush’s contract negotiations have become problematic because the NFL asked him to take an 18% pay cut from his yearly salary.
First, Ellis tweeted “kind of bored today….what can I stir the pot about today?” Then he tweeted Reggie Bush directly, saying, “ok so what is the sticking point with the negotiations…try 24% NFL.” His reach for sympathy was not well-received by his followers on Twitter, many of whom became upset with him. Most of them thought he was complaining about money even though his salary is almost $2 million this season.
Ellis did not stop with that tweet. He continued, “If you lost 18% of your income would you be happy? I can honestly say that I am more stressed about money now than when I was in college.” His followers were dumbfounded at how he could be “stressed about money” when he’s making close to $2 million this season plus incentives. Not only were his tweets off-limits for what a public figure ought to say, he soon replied to his followers, “If you’re getting overly jazzed up about my meaningless tweets maybe un-follow? Or maybe therapy is just what the Dr ordered?” He finally concluded his rant with “If you don’t make a lot of money, I don’t expect you to understand in the same way I could never understand what it is to risk my life daily as a firefighter or police officer. ..especially not a soldier. There are pros and cons to every profession. You are kidding yourself if you think money makes things any easier.” But on the cusp of yet another recession, with many people struggling to find jobs, a cry for sympathy using the “more money, more problems” stereotype can’t go over well.
A closer look at the actual numbers reveals that with a 24% pay cut, Ellis would lose $480,000. The majority of people who pay his salary (the fans) make less than $100,000, but they still buy tickets and watch the game. The NFL will probably take no action in the matter, but in my opinion they should. NFL players have no right to complain about money, especially when the minimum salary is $525,000.
The following night, Ellis issued a public apology which appeared to be sincere, but don’t be surprised if he was pressured into it. Ellis seemed to end on a sympathetic note; he decided to close his Twitter account, writing, “I am shutting down my Twitter account because in no way shape or form do I want this to disrupt my team. I deeply care for my teammates and faithful followers. This has all been misconstrued to no end and people’s feelings are getting hurt. There was never any intention in my tweets to undermine people who are in different income brackets. I donate 10% of my salary each year to help underprivileged kids across the world. As long as I play in the NFL my pledge will remain the same to The Garth Brooks Foundation. I deeply care for the less fortunate and make many efforts to be of even marginal help. I wish you all a happy twitter experience and hope you do not allow this misunderstanding to form the basis of your opinion of me. I welcome any of you to meet me in person to chat.”
Ellis appears to have shut down his account. Playing the sympathy card seems to have worked; when his followers received the last tweet, most of them had already forgiven him and were begging him not to leave.