Missanelli: The Real Story Behind the Victor Cruz Tweet

I was wrong to tweet so hastily. But I have the truth on my side.

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We all have things we want to do when the job is over and after this week, I have decided that I’m going to create a chain of rehabilitation centers for Twitter addicts.

In 2014, you can get hooked on Twitter more easily than crack. Crack at least requires money that you have to get from somewhere. Twitter is free and can be used by anyone — from the boardroom executive to the 14-year-old boy postulating from his mother’s basement. Twitter can be informational and enlightening. And it can also be very dangerous — a phenomenon that gives everyone the power to publish any thought, without endorsement or accountability.  It’s where Average Joe can be judge, jury and hangman on any particular subject.  And it’s a power we plunge deeply into our veins like the worst addict in a dark and seedy alley.

When it’s all said and done, I’m going to do my part with these rehab centers. I know a lot about this topic because I have been both a Twitter player and a victim.

In the third quarter of Sunday night’s Eagles-Giants game, right after the Giants’ Victor Cruz dropped a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone, I tweeted: “Hey Giants fans, Victor Cruz is over. Dance to that.” It was s spur-of-the moment tweet, which all of us in sports talk radio do from time to time. It was intended both to pander to the Eagle fan base for which I do my daily show, and to take a shot at the Giants, who occasionally infiltrate our area with their own brand of braggadocio. And on the surface, it seemed like a heartless thing to write, especially when Cruz subsequently collapsed with a ripped-up leg.

What got lost in the shuffle is that I never saw the player get hurt.

Many people, especially angry Giants fans, have asked how that is possible. Well, here is the story, letter by letter:

I saw the play only at a glance, on a big, outdoor television screen looming over Xfinity Live, and I only saw the part where the ball clanged off Cruz’s hands. At the time, I was rushing from the stadium, through the parking lot, to catch the Broad Street Subway at the corner of Broad and Pattison. Earlier that night, I had had dinner with friends and hopped a car ride to the stadium with them while leaving my own car parked in a lot off Chestnut Street in Center City. I left the game after the Giants’ first failed drive of the third quarter for fear that the Center City lot would close down for the night and I would then be unable to get my car. Either I was looking at the Cruz play live at the moment the ball bounced off his hands, or the network was, at that time, showing a replay. Either way, I NEVER saw that Cruz had been injured on the play and was long past sight of the screen whenever that part was covered.

It wasn’t until I got off the subway at Walnut-Locust, got to my car, and plugged my phone into my car charger to juice it back up that I learned that Cruz had gotten hurt on the play and saw the mayhem my tweet had caused. I immediately deleted the tweet and issued an apology; in fact several apologies, none of which were accepted, apparently, by the New York faithful.

In the subsequent hours, tweets blew up my phone like scud missiles:

I was attacked by the New York City newspapers — I made the cover of the New York Daily News — and every salacious blog in America. And I had to sit back and take it. The blog venom was expected. I have professed many times my distaste for sports blogs, which I see as Wal-Mart journalism, and this was a chance for them to get back at me. Giants’ fans, meanwhile, were still reeling from their team getting blasted on national television. So I can see how the tweet would sit with them.

But let’s take a closer look. If Cruz didn’t get injured, a tweet such as “Hey Giants fans, Victor Cruz is over. Dance with that” would merely be your typical play-by-play between competitive fan bases. What I meant with the “over” part was that Victor Cruz was “over” as the Giants top receiver, that he was “no longer” the Giants top receiver. That was something I had said on the radio before the season as one reason I didn’t think the Giants would be that viable this year in the NFC East. And the dance part speaks for itself. He dances when he scores. That makes the opposing fan base angry.

Where I was totally wrong was in tweeting so hastily. That was a mistake and in conjunction with the injury, it made me look like an insensitive jerk. I apologize to everyone who was offended, including Victor Cruz himself. And as a prominent member of the Philadelphia media, I need to be more responsible when using social media.

I did NOT know he had gotten hurt on the play. You can give me a bible and ask me to put my right hand on it, or you can chain me up naked in a dingy basement, soak me with water, and hit me with an electrical probe like they did to Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, and the answer is going to come out the same. I would NEVER make light of an athlete’s serious injury. I have never done that in my career and in fact have chastised Eagles fans who have.

For the people who insist on attacking me, well, if it makes you feel better, then knock yourself out. People are going to think what they want. To the piling-on local radio yokels, like Michael Barkann, a marginally talented circus barker who couldn’t exist without a teleprompter, don’t think that I’m not on to you. But if I had to rely on bringing up a competitor’s name in order to generate attention for my own underperforming show, I’d be duly embarrassed.

In the meantime, I grin and bear it, because I have something on my side the detractors don’t: the truth. When it comes to shrapnel from an exploding tweet, the truth always will set you free.

Mike Missanelli is on 97.5 FM The Fanatic every week day from 2 to 6 p.m. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMiss975.