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The Shaq Sock Puppet

Recently this blog was had by the oldest trick in the Internets. The Sock Puppet.

We reported (somewhat gleefully) that Shaq followed up his outstanding performance against the Bucks with a Twitter launched dis-fest at fellow professional athletes and fine men both - Erick Dampier and Andrew Bogut.Shaq_sock_puppet_medium

Here's the so-call Shaq Twitter feed.

After some suspicions were raised about the authenticity of this slam I did some digging and can't find anyone in the Suns organization that will confirm this is in fact Shaq's tweets. Shaq won't return my calls (maybe because I don't have his number).

Of course, it should be known that this feed has repeatedly been referenced by yet another Twitterer known as PhoenixSunsGirl.

Phoenix Suns Girl - who in real life is the Digital Media Research Director for your Phoenix Suns - follows the sock puppet Shaq feed and promotes it. I am guessing that a certain over priced water company is behind all this.

The real shame is that the Suns organization is threatening its credibility by promoting this sponsor's impersonation of one of it's players in a way that does impact and disrespect the game. All joking aside. That's a load of stinky crap.

The lesson here is not to trust what you read on your cell phone and be wary of this new media fad. And to unsubscribe from misleading disinformation campaigns.

Sincerest appologies to Mr. Shaquille O'Neal for disrepecting your good name and accusing you of insults you did not comit (although you can't blame us for immediately beleiving that is something you would say).

[UPDATE, 11/11/08 2:50 PM PST ]

Here's the response left in the comments from Amy Jo Martin - Suns Digital Media Director. Aka PhoenixSunsGirl.

Obviously, what Shaq decides to do with his own endorsements is his deal. I’m not endorsing Vitamin Water by re-tweeting; same goes for all of my re-tweets to other Suns Fan tweeters.

Let me know if there are any other theories out there, I’d be happy to set the record straight. And, in the interim. Go Suns!

In response to my question if Shaq had Tweeted the insults himself or if this was a corporate sock puppet dis:

I wish I had the answer for you here, but I don’t. The Phoenix Suns have nothing to do with Vitamin Water as it is not a Suns organization marketing partner. Therefore, I do not have any info. If, in fact, it was Gatorade or Verve Energy drink I could possibly be more help because those are two of our rad marketing partners, whom we love integrate into the Suns digital vibe. You can get on Twitter and ask the Shaq tweeter on the other end? They’ve been responsive by re-tweeting to Suns fans.

So, basically we don't know if the "person" Amy Jo has been tweeting with is Shaq himself, a Shaq corporate sponsor sock puppet, or some combination of both. Or perhaps neither.

Shaq slamming other players, coaches, team mates and female rapper - nothing new there right.

A company that Shaq owns a stake in and is a spokesman for doing so on his behalf in a deliberately deceptive way with at least the tacit approval of a Suns employee (who is not otherwise motivated by a rad marketing deal with said company) all just seems wrong.

But I guess I am the only one that cares if our team's star is being used as a vehicle to promote overpriced water by insulting other players and disrespecting the game.

And for the record - Shaq or Sock Puppet? I still have no idea what the real answer is.

This is all very confusing to me and I can't help but feel deceived regardless.

Welcome to the brave new digital media world.

[Note by ZonaFlash, 11/11/08 6:20 PM EST ]

First, it was very kind of PhoenixSunsGirl to come by and share at least what she knows, even if that really hasn't resolved much for us regarding who called Bogut an emasculated Ericka Dampier.

Seth, not sure what you mean by

But I guess I am the only one that cares if our team's star is being used as a vehicle to promote overpriced water by insulting other players and disrespecting the game.

Definitely I feel the same, but more so about the possible deception rather than by who to blame for the trash talking. I fully support trash talking by everyone including bloggers and marketers hiding behind a Shaq twitter.

On the other hand, Shaq has lost a lot from his trash talk, including fan respect and the role of sheriff in Arpaio's posse. Maybe someone else fanning the flames at his expense is wrong.

However, take this a step farther. If you can't trust Shaq's twits and tweets, who's to say Shaq was the one texting threats to female rappers? What can you trust unless you see it yourself on NBA League Pass or youtube?

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