Professional athletes sometimes speak out, but usually not about their teammates. Yet here was Jeff Schultz, a defenseman for the Washington Capitals ice-hockey team, spouting off on his Twitter social media account online: Must teach that Carlson kid this is MY blueline, he wrote.
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Defensemen play a lot of the game behind the blue line that defines the zone in front of their goalie. Carlson is John Carlson, a promising rookie who some say could take Schultz's job this season.
The veteran Schultz was talking smack, as they call it in sports, about this upstart rival on the Twitter site jeffschultz55. Fifty-five is his jersey number.
Twitter even promotes it: Hey there! reads a banner at the top of the site. jeffschultz55 is using Twitter.
On the page, Schultz also talks about packing up my home and saying goodbye to all my ladies. Schultz is married and has a daughter, so those must be the ladies he's referring to. That's not necessarily the impression one gets, however.
But it turns out that Schultz said nothing about teammate Carlson or the ladies in his life. The Twitter account is a ruse, a parody – one of many fake sites about sports figures and other celebrities on the Web.
And Twitter explicitly permits them. Parody impersonation accounts are allowed to exist, its policy reads, though the profile information . . . must make it obvious that the profile is fake. And indeed, the Washington Post reported that there's a statement in fine print on the jeffschultz55 page that the post is a phony.
We couldn't find it, however.
Capitals' players seemed annoyed rather than angry about all this. Many said they'd have to start legitimate Twitter accounts to counteract the misinformation. Twitter, meantime, told the Post that it might soon have to authenticate legitimate celebrity pages by calling them Verified Accounts.
Read more of Ted's personal reflections and stories from the road on his blog, Ted Landphair's America.