In the middle of December, a warning appeared in the Washington Redskin’s locker room. It said: Stay away from @RedRidnH00d. Avoid her on Twitter. Avoid her on Instagram. Do not converse with this person on any social media platform. She is not who she claims to be.
A number of Redskin’s players had been in contact with this person only to find out she was not real.
This type of hoax, called catfishing, is becoming more common in sports. Notre Dame star football player Manti Te’o was recently the victim of a much more vicious catfish hoax.
The catfishing of four Redskins’ players happened around the same time as Te’o. The NFL Network has only just learned of the investigation conducted by NFL security to uncover the truth.
The person responsible for the catfishing went by the name Sidney Ackerman. She used photos of adult film star C.J. Miles to send to players, claiming it was her in the pictures. Since the news of the hoax became public, the real person closed Sidney’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Washington’s Director of Player Development, Phillip Daniels, tells NFL Network:
“If you think about it, a lot of them are single guys, and they see somebody who looks good in a picture or something. In many cases, it involves someone who is a fan of the team, so they’ll start talking about the team. You have to recognize that something just isn’t right.”
So far Daniels is right. The Redskins have since found out that Sidney Ackerman is in fact a female and a diehard Redskin fan. The team has also confirmed she never asked for money or attempt to exploit any of the players.
“I think it was all about attention. I don’t think it was any of the other stuff. It was just about being able to talk to them, pretending to be someone they aren’t. It was never a situation where guys were giving money or anything like that.”
The act of catfishing is creating a lot of problems in collegiate and professional sports. It will be interesting to see what kind of actions different sporting organizations take to eliminate this growing problem.
What do you think? Does this incident speak to a growing issue in the sports world?