4 years a slave
— BrandonSpikes51 (@BrandonSpikes51) April 9, 2014
That was Brandon Spikes’ assessment of his playing time with the New England Patriots, the NFL team he played his first four professional football seasons with. Spikes, who had never been reported to have had a bad time with Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and company, recently signed with the Buffalo Bills — an unexpected, relatively unexciting blip on the 2014 free agency radar.
But where did that come from? It turns out it was pretty innocuous: Spikes was tweeting about the Bills upcoming schedule, and mentioned that he was excited to hand the Patriots a pair of losses. Since, again, he plays for Buffalo now.
Of course, he also has four seasons worth of Patriots fans following him on Twitter, and when Spikes sent out that tweet, he ended up inviting the particularly New England flavor of angry sports fan to tell him exactly how they felt about him and his new team in 140 character bursts.
@BrandonSpikes51 the thug is free! Your one of the worst LB in the NFL and all u do is talk like ur a pro bowler
— Patsnation!! (@Patsnation3) April 9, 2014
Spikes then responded with, “Lol don’t call me a thug #Masshole go head and say what u really wanna say!!!” Aside from #Masshole being the greatest hashtag to be involved in the 2014 NFL off season, the incident provided a strong reminder that ‘fan’ is, indeed, a shortened form of ‘fanatic.’ While the schedule information is interesting — the 2014 week-by-week schedule hasn’t been released to the public yet, although the Bills are allegedly playing on Thanksgiving – the notion that Spikes, a well-liked player among the fanbase, could be the object of such intense scorn (and you can read all the replies, most of them vitriolic, to his original twitter post here) simply because he’s hoping for a win.
At least, a win for the team that he plays for — like most professional athletes do. It’s clear that Spikes does harbor some dislike for the New England front office, a fissure exacerbated by the decision to place him on the IR last year during the playoffs. The move that was reportedly not a mutual call between the player and the team, and may have hastened his departure from the franchise.