The Absurdity Of The Houston Rockets Twitter Controversy


To quote the immortal Sergeant Hulka from Ivan Reitman’s 1982 classic comedy, Stripes: “Lighten up, Francis.”

It’s a fact of life. If a horse is unlikely to survive a severe injury or illness and no other option exists to relieve its suffering, it gets put down. It happens all the time, and in most circles, it’s considered the humane thing to do.

So as the Houston Rockets closed in on the completion of their 4-1 beatdown of the Dallas Mavericks in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs on Tuesday night, Houston’s (now former) social media manager Chad Shanks sent out the following tweet from the official Houston Rockets Twitter account:

Cue the righteous indignation.

Social media was littered with all manner of temper tantrums and sanctimonious bellyaching about the “offensive” nature of the tweet; a tweet that featured an emoji of a horse with an emoji of a gun pointed at it.

The result? Shanks was unceremoniously fired on Wednesday and the Rockets tweeted an apology to the Mavericks and their fans.

Most of us who follow our favorite franchise’s social media accounts know that they’re usually about as riveting as a training camp interview with Arian Foster. Shanks’ quip was a perfect example of what had made the Rockets’ Twitter account so popular amongst fans in the first place: it was witty, edgy, and most of all, it was a perfect illustration of what was happening at the time.

The Mavericks, unlikely to survive much longer after being crippled beyond repair by Chandler Parsons’ season-ending knee injury and Rajon Rondo’s quitting on the team earlier in the series, were about to be put down for good.

Unfortunately for Shanks and those who enjoyed what he brought to the job, the backlash from a butt-hurt contingent of huffy Dallas fans (and, perhaps more surprisingly, employees) quickly turned a playful jab at an opponent to a commentary on Houston’s lack of class as an organization.

Leading the charge of the patently self-righteous mob of easily offended grumps was Dallas Mavericks radio play-by-play announcer Chuck Cooperstein, who took to Twitter to take a few personal pot shots at both Shanks and the Rockets organization.

Apparently Cooperstein’s idea of “class” is referring to a member of another organization as “slime” and a “fanboy” while perched atop his high horse of political correctness.

Some simpletons have gone so far as to suggest the tweet was somehow a reference to former Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams’ notoriously shameful remark about rape victims.

If you’re wondering how on earth a tweet from a sports franchise’s social media account about the impending end of a playoff series is somehow akin to some wack job politician’s ignorant remarks about rape, well…you’re not alone.

More from Houston Rockets

Perhaps most disappointing of all was the Rockets’ decision to fire an employee for his depiction of emoji animal violence. This is professional sports for crying out loud! Guys brandish real guns and beat up real people and don’t get fired from their jobs. A suspension wouldn’t have done the trick?

Here’s hoping Shanks lands on his feet and snags another job doing what he does best. More importantly, here’s hoping the Twitterverse lightens up a little bit. Because a world without humor is like a foot without a big toe.

Just ask Sergeant Hulka.

#BringBackChad – Click here to sign the petition

Stick with us here at House of Houston for all your Rockets playoff coverage.

Next: Rockets v. Mavs: Puttin 'Em Down

More from House of Houston