Praising the hometown fans is almost always a good P.R. strategy for athletes to employ. For instance, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is probably a god in Milwaukee after what he said about their fans this week. The fans help pay athletes’ salaries by supporting the team and attending games — you almost can never go wrong with praising the fans. Unless you’re Nate Robinson.
The Oklahoma City Thunder bench player found himself in the middle of a murky situation Thursday after he tweeted his praise of Thunder fans. Robinson wrote on twitter “OKC aka Thunder fans are the best on the planet hands down.”
When it comes to playing to the home crowd, it doesn’t get better than that. The local fans will love a guy who shares the love with them. The problem is Nate Robinson is from Seattle, went to high school in Rainier Beach, and played college ball at Washington. He’s a local icon in Seattle, has a 206 tattoo (Seattle’s area code), and a tattoo of the Seattle skyline on his neck (pictured above). For someone who represents Seattle as well as Nate does, he clearly wasn’t thinking about how his hometown would be hurt by his words.
A phone call from a Seattle fan into JT the Brick’s national radio show conveyed how hurt a fan was by Robinson’s words. The tweets Robinson had to respond to showed how they felt betrayed. Even Nate’s mom had to call into a Washington radio show to defend him because the fans were so upset. But if you think about the situation, it makes sense.
It’s already difficult enough for Seattle fans to see the team they love not only playing in Oklahoma City, but having success. Now they have to be told by one of their hometown heroes that the new fans are the best in the world? I know Nate didn’t have bad intentions with his tweet — his intentions were actually good. But while you’re with your new girlfriend, the conscientious person keeps the ex in mind to ensure you’re not rubbing in the new relationship.
Come on Nate, you have to know better than that.
You know what that calls for? The Scioscia Stare: