The shame of the Wayne Rooney Twitter ‘threat’
Yesterday, in response to an abusive message on Twitter, Wayne Rooney tweeted: “I will put u asleep within 10 seconds hope u turn up if u don’t gonna tell everyone ur scared u little nit. I’ll be waiting.”
The Manchester United striker has now been accused of threatening his abuser. The Daily Star today went as far as to plaster it across its front page under the headline: ‘Furious Rooney threatens to knock out fan’. The trashy newspaper also claimed the story was an ‘Exclusive’, a push considering Rooney has over half a million followers on Twitter who would have seen the comment.
On the BBC Sport website one of their top stories today is: ‘Man Utd’s Wayne Rooney threatens Twitter follower’. On independent.co.uk, for which I am sports editor, there is a related story with the headline: ‘Arsene Wenger in Twitter warning after Wayne Rooney ‘threat’‘. At time of writing, that article is the most read sports story on our website.
I saw this Tweet from Wayne Rooney yesterday, and it was so clearly in jest I treated it as such and moved on to cover the more worthwhile stories of the day. And just to be sure, in case anyone was in any doubt as to the way it should be treated, Rooney helpfully tweeted shortly after: “Haha bit of banter and people go nuts chill all people.”
Does anyone really believe Rooney is so stupid he would make legitimate threats in front of 570,000 followers on Twitter? The United striker hasn’t exactly styled himself as one of the games ‘thinkers’, but that would be a claim too far.
Yet despite making what was clearly a throw-away comment, Rooney has had to come out and defend his actions. His spokesman released this statement: “As is made clear in the tweets, this whole exchange is banter,” it read. “There is no suggestion, nor is there any intention of a suggestion, of a real fight.”
It would seem there is no shortage of interest in the England forward. And perhaps that interest is why this story, and many others about the 25-year-old, are often blown out of proportion and given a disproportionate amount of coverage and prominence.
Newspapers and websites are in a constant scramble to sell papers and grab hits, but to so willingly misinterpret the words of a public figure is shameful. It is why the word ‘threat’ is in apostrophes on this article, and why it will be appearing in apostrophes across the entire independent.co.uk website.daily star, football, manchester united, threat, twitter, Wayne Rooney
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