James Harden's message after the Rockets eliminated the Mavericks in Game 5 was that the Rockets were just getting started. That's not the case for the team's digital communications manager.
Chad Shanks was fired by the team a day after the Rockets' Twitter account tweeted a message that included an emoji of a pistol pointing at an emoji of a horse head with the accompanying text, "Shhhhh. Just close your eyes. It will all be over soon.” The tweet was sent in the waning moments of the Rockets' 103-94 win.
The immediate reaction on Twitter was negative, but the Mavericks account responded by taking the high road.
The Rockets deleted the controversial tweet and apologized in a subsequent tweet:
On his personal Twitter account, Shanks announced Wednesday he was no longer with the Houston Rockets organization, which the organization confirmed to the Houston Chronicle.
“I never meant to offend anybody,” Shanks told the Houston Chronicle. “I attempted an admittedly edgy jab at the Mavericks’ expense and it did not go over well with everyone. The organization supported my efforts to make the account one of the best in the NBA by pushing the envelope, but they deemed this too far.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities and experiences I got from the Rockets and know they acted in what they thought was their best interest (to) avoid any more controversy. I didn’t mean to advocate violence toward animals; just let my emotions get the best of me in a jab at the Mavs that was not very well thought-out. I’m proud of my four seasons of award-winning work with the Rockets and will always be a fan. I wish there would’ve been another method of punishment, but I have no ill feelings toward them. I loved my job.”