Dealing With Gaffes In 2012

January 24, 2012

“These people don’t get paid enough.”

I never thought I’d utter such words about entertainers or athletes, but after seeing the recent online attacks directed at 49ers punt returner Kyle Williams following his costly fumbles and Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff after his missed field goal (and to a lesser extent, singer Lana Del Rey about her “Saturday Night Live” performance), that’s exactly what I said. National humiliation just isn’t what it used to be.

Yep, dealing with gaffes in 2012 is brutal. I know, it comes with the territory, and fans giving athletes a hard time isn’t anything new, but social media has become the new hate mail. It’s public for all to see and it comes in at astounding rates.

After the NFL conference championship games concluded on Sunday, both Cundiff (who made $1.5 million in 2011) and Williams (who made $405,000 in 2011) were trending national topics on Twitter, and some of the updates were pretty twisted.

While much more light-hearted than the threatening tweets, another result of making a blunder in the national spotlight is becoming a meme, as #billycundiffplaylist has shown this week.

Sure, it is kind of funny to imagine Billy listening to Beyonce’s “Irreplacable” (with the catchy hook, “To the left, to the left..”), but I can’t say I’ve ever been the subject of a meme before – or a mash-up video with Ray Finkle, the deranged kicker in “Ace Ventura” – so I can only imagine what the kicker is feeling.

Just imagine if “goats” such as Bill Buckner, Steve Bartman and Gary Anderson had Twitter, Deadspin and the increased media attention and TV audiences during their infamous gaffes.

Photo via Shshalom on Flickr.