PFT Commenter on SportsCenter.

There are several different categories of fake quotes or fake news in tweets. One is from people impersonating insiders and fooling notable media people or outlets. Another comes from people who have created accounts to pose as local reporters. A third is from outlets like Ballsack Sports that are trying to make points about aggregation (and while their name may show their quotes aren’t real, their quotes are believable enough to fool a lot of people), while a fourth comes from fully-satirical outlets like The Onion that have still had some people take them seriously.

Barstool Sports personality PFT Commenter (seen above on Scott Van Pelt’s SportsCenter a few years back) is probably mostly in that last fully-satirical category, but a full attempt at satire he made Thursday got taken seriously by a whole lot of people.

The PFT Commenter account started as a bit, but the man behind it has certainly become a significant media figure, co-hosting Barstool’s Pardon My Take (with Dan “Big Cat” Katz) since 2016, and also co-hosting their short-lived ESPN show Barstool Van Talk. And the Twitter account in question is a verified account with more than 990,000 followers. Most of the tweets there (the ones that aren’t just promoting Barstool content) are definitely jokes or satire, though, and most people are seemingly aware of that.

But on Thursday, that account put out a very not-serious tweet about under-fire former NFL QB Brett Favre.  That tweet spelled Favre’s name name wrong, linked to a Barstool “Is Russell Wilson A Serial Killer?” piece rather than the supposed Athletic citation, and cited an Athletic “premium+ subscription tier” that doesn’t exist. And that’s before you get to the absurdity of the supposed quote it featured, which should have made it quite clear this was not real.

Any level of reading of the actual quote there should make it obvious it’s not something that would seriously appear in an actual sports publication like The Athletic. From “ol’ gunslinger” to “title nine” to “this is all off the record, by the way,” this is definitely much closer to an Onion article than anything actually deceptive. And yet, it got a whole lot of verified journalists retweeting it and then deleting that:

This did lead to a funny comment on what “The Athletic Premium+” gets you, though:

And this is yet one more reason for journalists to be careful about what they retweet.

[PFT Commenter on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.