In response to the problems created by people pretending to be celebrities (not the least of which was the Tony LaRussa lawsuit), Twitter has instituted a program (still in beta testing mode) to verify that the pages of famous people or the entities they represent are legitimate. One such "Verified Account" is that of San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman. So I'm confident that his portion of this exchange with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad "Don't Call Me Johnson" OchoCinco is real.
I'm confident about OchoCinco's page as well, although it has yet to become "Verified," because he posted a video as part of their back-and-forth. Chad's Twitter page is interesting in that he replies, voluminously, to his followers -- some of whom, at least, are definitely not fans. (I've included a couple of OchoCinco's posts with them as well.) On my own blog (shameless plug alert!) I wrote about how he recently riled people with a poor comparison between the 9/11 attacks and the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. The following (after the jump) all took place on June 24th...
The Chargers play at Cincinnati on December 20, so I guess it fell upon OchoCinco to start the trash tweets, and Merriman came right back. (The @ symbol in messages means that the post refers to, or replies directly to, another Twitter user. And every tweet is left unedited -- no corrections of spelling, etc.)
OC: Somebody please tell Shawne Merriman thats is ass on Dec. 20th, relay the message to the rest of the D, especially Cromartie!!!!child please 10:13 am
SM: @OGOchoCinco Are you SERIOUS??????? 12:27 PM
OC: @shawnemerriman damit i didnt stutter, i never held my tongue before, you heard me loud and clear, and we can get in the boxing ring to 12:33 pm
OC: CHILD PLEASE, is the word for the day, Shawne Merriman tryin to stop Ocho Cinco, CHILD PLEASE, better chance at finding Osama!!! 12:36 pm
SM: Man yall not going to believe how chad "OCHOCINCO" came at me...im going to finish my workout 12:48 PM
SM: 12seconds - VID 00062.3GP http://tiny12.tv/EWFCE 12:48 PM
That link is to a video. Shawne had to post a video before he went off to finish his workout. Meanwhile, one of his fans stuck up for him:
xJamiebabyx: @OGOchoCinco LMAO! Dawg, @shawnemerriman would kill you! His nickname is "lights out" for a damn good reason! 12:35 PM
OC: @xJamiebabyx his nickname is lights out because he didnt pay the light bill when he was little 12:40 pm
Later, Chad felt the need to reply further, and posted a video of his own:
OC: Damit people how do i get the camera on my mac book pro to work, its my turn to talk trash 2:30 pm
OC: Headed to the boxing gym, deal with Mr. Merriman when i return, talking about ringing my neck out, yo lights gone be off permenantly!!!! 2:57 pm
SM: just got done with my first workout but since OCHOZERO or whatever he calls himself is talking im going to get extra for the day...LightsOut 3:28 PM
OC: Shawne you better stick to making music video appearances, ring that out, this ain't what you want! Child please 5:33 pm
OC: New video better quality, Child Please http://twitvid.io/abVN 6:46 pm
SM: Check out this video --> http://yttwt.com/50jwf this is my second workout of the day LIGHTSOUT 7:09 PM
Ummmm...great. At this point, another Merriman fan took up the cause, and I'm left wondering about OchoCinco's first reply.
tweeturself: @shawnemerriman Please knock that wannabe out. Like it'd even be a contest. You rule bro, keep the Bolts D ragin!! 7:13 PM
T: @OGOchoCinco By child, do you mean spoiled hold out who won't play cause he's a whiny baby? 7:14 PM
T: @OGOchoCinco Change ur name to "Ocho Acabado" and go into witness protection. Ur no longer interesting and need to get knocked out. 7:22 PM
OC: @tweeturself Get the F on, peace! Go follow Boy George!!! 7:23 PM
Some people might think telling him or her to follow Boy George is a little bit homophobic. I'll let you be the judge.
T: @OGOchoCinco Change ur name to "Ocho Acabado" "Acabado Cinco" or "Chad Acabado". Ur seaweed on a beach-washed up 8:25 PM
OC: @tweeturself so is your joke 8:27 PM
T: @OGOchoCinco U wanna impress people? Try shuttin ur mouth and score touchdowns-be like Barry Sanders. Loudmouth WRs r a dime a dozen. 8:29 PM
OC: @tweeturself Talking is a way of living where i am from, as for yourself, keep hating please, as long as you hate i will keep talking!!! 8:31 PM
T: @OGOchoCinco U don't believe me ask TO how he likes house huntin in Buffalo. Play to ur potential and the rest takes care of itself. 8:31 PM
OC: @tweeturself Impress people my ass, this is for me, this is how i play and always played, who the hell are you to tell my how to do me!!! 8:33 PM
OC: @tweeturself Again if you dont like it dont follow Dr. Phill, nobody is forcing you to be on here with me, you here because you want to be! 8:34 PM
OC: @tweeturself You are just as dumb as Joe Buck with that comment, what are you saying, i can find a place to live anywhere, including with u 8:36 PM
At some point, particularly if you're Chad OchoCinco, why bother continuing this argument? Isn't there anything better he could be doing with his time?
Do you follow any athletes (or other celebs) on Twitter? Do you reply to their posts? And do they ever respond?