The two gentlemen pictured above are both named Chris Conte. One of them plays safety for the Chicago Bears. The other is a reporter for Nashville's local CBS affiliate. The NFL's Chris Conte has struggled a bit this season—according to Yahoo, he deleted his Twitter account in November after an influx of abuse from Bears "fans".
But that didn't stop those same Bears "fans" from berating the only Chris Conte they could find on Twitter (that is, the reporter) after Packers receiver Randall Cobb ran past Chris Conte (the safety) on Sunday en route to scoring a touchdown that knocked the Bears out of the playoffs. One of the more vitriolic examples hoped Conte died of AIDS, while another suggested a new occupation:
Someone tell @chrisconte that Motel 6 is looking for an overnight janitor. I'm sure he's qualified for that.
— Dan Lewis (@danlewis1) December 30, 2013
Conte is not alone in having been the mistaken recipient of keyboard courage (or, as it were, misplaced encouragement). These five individuals have all had startling "@-mention" feeds at one time or another:
Gerry Sandusky: A Ravens Broadcaster, not an evildoer
You can see where this is going.
@GerrySandusky Is this the Jerry Sandusky, child rapist extraordinaire?
— Johnny Shogun (@BigBirmingham6) June 28, 2012
Jonathan Martin: A NY Times reporter, not a former Dolphin
@jmartNYT Jonathan gotta be a coward! 6 foot 5 300 pounds come on man this is not the way to teach your Children #BIGBABY #LEARNTOFIGHT
— thadjudda1 (@thadjudda1) November 4, 2013
After weeks of receiving tweets intended for the former Miami offensive lineman, who left the team after accusing Richie Incognito of bullying, the Times writer described the differences between the two of them:
Besides the fact that I played guard and Martin is a tackle, I was also perplexed because, well, he is a 6-foot-5 312-pound professional football player, and I am a political reporter for The New York Times, who barely cracked 200 pounds at the height of my high school glory days. Then there is the fact that I have “NYT” in my Twitter handle (@jmartnyt), and my history nerd avatar is a picture of Lyndon B. Johnson’s two beagles, Her and Him, perched on the south lawn of the White House.
An honest mistake, then.
Ashley Kerekes: An American babysitter, not a cricket match
In 2010, the Massachusetts citizen, who tweets as "@theashes," was inundated with mentions about the cricket series between England and Australia. Initially annoyed (she wrote, ''I am not a freakin cricket match!"), she grew to appreciate the humor in everything that was happening. Several months later, she flew across several ponds to observe the sport firsthand.
Sir Chris Hoy: A cyclist, not an EPL ref by the name of Chris Foy
After Tottenham Hotspur dropped a 2011 match 2-1 to Stoke City, the aggrieved masses went impolitely searching for the ref who had made some calls that they found disagreeable. Hoy assured them they had the wrong guy:
Just for the record 1) I don't need glasses and 2) I do not lead a double life as an English premiere league ref. That's Chris Foy.
— Chris Hoy (@chrishoy) December 12, 2011
Ravi Visvesvaraya Sharada Prasad: Indian IT Consultant, not Manchester United hero
Hey, look, people can actually say nice things on Twitter. After Man U star Robin van Persie scored three goals in a game this past April, well-wishes were sent to a 52-year-old IT consultant in India.
Apparently not one to shy away from the limelight, Prasad had a strong sense of humor about the situation:
RVP is the account of Ravi Visvesvaraya Sharada Prasad, a telecom & infotech consultant in India. RVP is NOT the account of Robin van Persie
— RaviVisvesvaraPrasad (@rvp) March 28, 2013
I wasted half my life studying engineering when I should have been working on my dribbling & shooting & impressing Fergie & Wenger. — RaviVisvesvaraPrasad (@rvp) April 24, 2013