Bad Tweet Gets This Man Fired—But Look How He Handled It
Chad Shanks, the man tasked with running digital communications for the Houston Rockets, was fired on Wednesday after sending the following tweet just before his team defeated the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night:
As you can see from the number of times his message was retweeted, his tweet quickly became the source of Twitter conversation. Some people were outraged by the violence-based emoji; others thought the trash talking was funny. Personally, I find it a bit crass and unsportsmanlike.
The Rockets fired Shanks the next day.
We’ve all seen this narrative repeatedly: Someone tweets something questionable, Internet seeks justice, perpetrator loses his or her job. But this story is different, because Mr. Shanks proceeded to offer a master class in how to respond to such a situation with grace.
First, he tweeted the following messages:
He also offered a longer statement to the Houston Chronicle:
“I never meant to offend anybody,” Shanks said. “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.”
His self-awareness, honest reflection, and class toward his former employer leaves me with the inescapable conclusion that the Rockets reacted too quickly and doled out unnecessarily harsh justice. I understand why the Rockets were upset—such tweets are certainly antithetical to their brand—but Mr. Shanks comes across as the type of person who understands his infraction and would have taken steps not to repeat them.
That’s the kind of guy I’d want on my team.
As unjust as his firing might be, his handling of it will almost surely raise his value in the marketplace. Another team would be smart to grab him before someone else does.
Lessons learned: 1) don’t F with animals in any way. People care more about the pain and suffering of animals than they do about the pain and suffering of other people. 2) when guns and gun violence are all over the news and gaining that much national attention, jokes involving them don’t generally go over well.
I think his statement was good, and I think that will help him. But it’s also a case of not thinking something through before committing, and it was a tough lesson learned.
Great analysis. Too quick to fire. He’s the type of employee a boss should stand up for. A message with the theme, “We’ve heard you loud and clear and we agree this message went too far. Chad Shanks, the man behind the tweet, gets that he crossed a line with this one. Our discussions with Chad make us quite confident this will not be a problem in the future.”
I agree with you Brad in that, after further review, perhaps the punishment didn’t fit the crime and that a suspension without pay (along with a stern warning) would have been the better course of action in this case. He did push the envelope with his tweet but it seems as though you’re seeing more and more of this type of thing on twitter with the goal of garnering more attention. However, this does serve as a great reminder that you should always be careful of what you post to social media and how to handle a delicate situation if one should ever be confronted with something like this.
I agree that this was a too-hasty reaction to his tweet. Maybe we could use a post on how management keeps from over-reacting in this day and time of social media and its impact. Just as quickly as people are offended, they are mollified with the right approach and all is well. It’s a shame to lose good people because someone in management doesn’t know how to handle a situation like this in the most effective way.