Darren Rovell of ESPN is one of the foremost authorities on sports business in America, building a personal brand over the last ten years that, with occasional hiccups, is rivaled by very few in his subset of our industry.

As with many ESPN personalities, Rovell’s immense popularity on social media has made him countless enemies. The more followers Rovell collects on Twitter—he’s up to more than 755,000 at the time of this posting—the more people seem to turn on him.

Outside of perhaps only Donald Trump, Rovell leads the planet in “delete your account” responses, with silly puns like this turning people’s stomachs:

That post garnered 496 retweets and 502 favorites. The Twitter “engagement” metrics Rovell often touts as internet equity must have been off the charts for that tweet. And yet, most of the comments were, shall-we-say, not kind.

The thing is, while most in sports media don’t like Rovell, we know that if Adam Jacobi (the once and future king of sports media internet puns) had posted the same joke, we would have hated it for all the right reasons.

If PFT Commenter had posted it, he’d probably get another book deal.

When Rovell posts it, everyone wants him to go away forever.


It’s almost sad. The internet feels Rovell’s status in the industry and role at ESPN should preclude him from making such puns, or tweeting ad nauseam about state fair foodstuffs. He is a sports business reporter, so report about sports business.

But is it fair to Rovell the human—note: I have yet to verify if @darrenrovell is actually a human or just a never-ending Twitter algorithm uploaded to the cloud—that some of us are allowed to be serious and silly and three dimensional in a digital world, but he isn’t?

Is it just because he’s not very good at it that we so often want him to delete his account?

The answer is no. No to everything. No, you shouldn’t feel bad. No, it’s not sad. No, no, no, because Rovell did this to himself back on July 14, 2011.

This is his own fault.


Rovell was still working for CNBC as a sports business reporter in the summer of 2011 when he posted an article titled, “The 100 Twitter Rules To Live By” to commemorate reaching 100,000 followers on Twitter.

The post was one of the most poorly received pieces of writing/reporting/journalism in the history of the medium. Rovell became a lightning rod from that moment forward, and the more and more followers he collected, the more bewildered the rest of sports media became.

Rovell accepting his USMAP award at BWB in New York in 2011. Yes, that’s a Muppet. Yes he is wearing an A’s jacket him with his name on it.

(Full disclosure: around that time I was working with the organizers of the sports media conference BWB on an awards project during which I presented both Rovell and Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch with the “Best Sports Media Tweeter” award. It was a tie, as a hand-selected committee of insiders had chosen Deitsch, while the popular vote tabbed Rovell. At the event, Deitsch gave a thoughtful speech about the power of social media in sports. Rovell stood silently on the stage, tapped into his phone before holding it up triumphantly before walking off to abject confusion from those in attendance. Rovell thought his tweet would instantly pop up on the screen behind him, and figured everyone in attendance was following him anyway, so they would get his “acceptance tweet” in lieu of a speech. It was the perfect Rovellian moment. And yes, the trophies were customized Muppets for each winner.)

It’s fun sometimes to go back to Rovell’s 100 Twitter rules to think about what he’d change now. Twitter is an evolving beast, so many of his rules no longer apply given the shifting landscape of social media and the technological advancements over the last four years.

And yet, many of his rules were actually kind of good then, and still ring true today. So why does Rovell consistently break them?

By my count, of the remaining relevant rules Rovell penned back in 2011, he goes against more than a dozen with regularity. Here are 15 I pulled that Rovell created yet no longer follows, several of which came into play this week when Rovell tried to explain why taking someone’s photo and linking to their Twitter feed is better than simply retweeting them or quote retweeting them, a widely-used industry custom.

About Dan Levy

Dan Levy has written a lot of words in a lot of places, most recently as the National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. He was host of The Morning B/Reakaway on Sirius XM's Bleacher Report Radio for the past year, and previously worked at Sporting News and Rutgers University, with a concentration on sports, media and public relations.

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