NFL looks into Dolphins WR's fake Twitter account
"Tweets" are not so sweet for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess.
Bess is the latest example of an NFL player whose identity was stolen on the popular Twitter.com networking service. A Twitter user named "Lambo_Weezy" has made multiple postings claiming he was Bess. That prompted a call Monday to NFL security from Bess' agent Kenny Zuckerman.
"The Twitter site is a 100-percent fake," Zuckerman told FOXSports.com in an e-mail. "We have contacted all the proper authorities and plan to prosecute this impostor to the fullest extent of the law. Fraud is fraud and we are going to protect Davone and his reputation at any cost. He is very upset about this incident and wants everyone to know that he is the victim of an unfortunate scam."
The con was first chronicled by Dolphins blogs that included thephinsider.com, finstache.blogspot.com and finheaven.com. Claiming he was Bess, "Lambo_Weezy" was "Tweeting" braggadocios statements — like challenging Tennessee running back Chris Johnson to a footrace — that belie the wide receiver's humble personality. "Lambo_Weezy" even conducted an online chat posing as Bess through ustream.com.
Thephinsider.com noticed Twitter posts from the fake Bess were being made while the real Bess was on the field participating in offseason practices. The web site alerted Zuckerman to the situation.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said league security "will get involved to help any NFL employee being victimized by impersonation." Dolphins security also is investigating the matter, team spokesman Harvey Greene said Monday night. The "Lambo_Weezy" Twitter account had 1,228 followers as of Monday afternoon.
"Twittering" is the hottest internet trend among pro athletes. Messages of 140 characters or less can be sent to online followers from computers, cell phones and PDAs. Athletes and celebrities have used Twitter to post updates about their professional endeavors, personal lives and even arrange surprise meeting with fans.
But since Twitter doesn't ask for identification proof to start an account, a bevy of imposters has emerged. A fake "Peyton Manning" — complete with a mug shot of the Colts quarterback and hometown listing of Indianapolis in the Twitter profile — has almost 14,000 followers. A bogus DeMarcus Ware "tweeted" that he was close to signing a contract extension, forcing the Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker to later disclaim the false posting.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa sued Twitter because an impostor sent out derogatory statements under his name. A settlement was reached earlier this month. Twitter is experimenting with software that will provide verification for legitimate athlete/celebrity users. But the company's web site said the service is currently being offered only to "well-known accounts that have had problems with impersonation or identity confusion."
Bess was one of the NFL's top rookie receivers last season despite being undrafted largely because of a slow 40-yard dash time (4.8 seconds). The former University of Hawaii standout started six games and caught 54 passes for 554 yards and one touchdown.
Bess isn't the only Dolphins player dealing with identity issues. A police report recently cited rookie cornerback Vontae Davis with an arrest for unnecessary vehicular noise and driving without a valid license in Champaign, Ill. Davis, though, had his wallet stolen this spring while at the University of Illinois and was in South Florida at the time of the incident. The case is now under police investigation.