Words can be so hurtful sometimes.
But what about emojis? Those cute little symbols we send out to express every possible emotion or word we don’t feel like typing couldn’t possibly offend anybody, right?
They can if you’re a fan of a certain undefeated NFL team feeling picked on by a certain TV network.
Late during ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast of the New England Patriots’ 20-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills, the network’s “SportCenter” Twitter account sent out this tweet:
🏈📹🏈📹🏈📹🏈📹🏈📹🏈— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 24, 2015
It should be noted that the tweet went out right around the time the officials were reviewing video to determine whether or not Buffalo’s Sammy Watkins made a fourth-down catch to extend the Bills’ final drive. So it could have been an attempt to convey the message that the play was under review.
Or it could have been a commentary on the fact that it was the second time in that drive that video review was being used.
Maybe. But many Patriots fans didn’t take it that way. Any mention of video cameras, even via emoji, will forever be taken as a Spygate slam by those folks -- especially if it comes from ESPN, whose "Outside the Lines” broadcast a scathing report back in September about the extent the Patriots have allegedly gone to in order to obtain an unfair advantage.
Who knows? Maybe they have a point. After all, the only other emoji tweeted out by "SportsCenter” during the game was an open-mouthed face in reaction to a one-handed catch by Buffalo’s Sammy Watkins.
And during Sunday’s NFL action, the league’s only other undefeated team, the Carolina Panthers, got two positive emoji-driven tweets, both referring to quarterback Cam Newton (and/or his cleats) being on fire.
But at least those came with explanations. But no such courtesy was extended with the camcorder/football emoji fest. So let the conspiracy theories continue.