A day after the Rockets Twitter account posted, removed and then apologized for a tweet to celebrate the end of the first-round series with the Mavericks, the team dismissed Chad Shanks as its digital communications manager.
A tweet was posted on Tuesday with an emoticon of a pistol pointed at a horse’s head, a reference to the Mavericks’ mascot, along with the message “Shhhhh. Just close your eyes. It will all be over soon.”
On Wednesday, Shanks said on his personal Twitter account that he was no longer with the organization.
“I did my best to make the account the best in the NBA by pushing the envelope, but pushed too far for some and for that I apologize,” Shanks wrote.
“Sometimes you can go too far. I will no longer run @HoustonRockets (the team’s twitter account) but am grateful to the organization that let me develop an online voice.”
A Rockets spokesperson confirmed that Shanks had been let go, but said the organization would have no other comment.
Reached on Wednesday, Shanks indicated the Rockets encouraged him to be edgy, but believed the tweet on Tuesday crossed the line.
“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.”