Media

Washington Senator Patty Murray apologizes for rude tweet about Broncos super fan Barrel Man

While there's a lot in common between Denver and Seattle other than legal pot, tension remains between the cities owing to the Broncos-Seahawks match-up in Sunday's Super Bowl. Witness the recent firing of a Washington teen after he wore a Demaryius Thomas jersey to work.

Latest person to go too far: Washington Senator Patty Murray (actually, members of her staff), who had to apologize after insulting the physique of late Broncos super fan Barrel Man. The tweet, photos, a video and details below.

The story comes to us from the Seattle Weekly, once a Westword sister paper in the Voice Media empire. The Weekly's news blogger, Matt Driscoll, bravely admits to being a Broncos fan in a piece memorably headlined "Dick Move of the Week: Patty Murray Taunts Dead Barrel Man."

As noted by Driscoll, the social-media helpers attending to Murray and Michael Bennet, her Democratic senatorial colleague from Colorado, went back and forth about the big game on Twitter after both squads punched their tickets for New York/New Jersey. Here's one benign exchange:

However, one Murray-account tweet didn't play quite so nice. In it, her designated tweeter referenced Seahulk, who transforms himself into a cross between the Incredible Hulk and a Seahakws fan for games. Here's a video introduction:

Of course, there's nothing wrong with paying tribute to Seahulk. But the aforementioned tweet puffed up Big Green, using the hashtag #EnoughSaid, at the expense of the not-quite-as-well-muscled Barrel Man, aka Tim McKiernan, who died in 2009. The item has been deleted, but Politwoops, a site that highlights tweets politicians have yanked, managed to grab it before it went away forever. Here's a screen capture as seen on a post by Twitchy.com.

The Weekly's Driscoll deemed the Murray tweet "tasteless," adding, "On behalf of all Broncos fans...I'd like to call for Murray's resignation. Short of that, though, it seems like a simple apology is in order. Seahawks fans can root on their team with as much passion as they please -- in fact, I encourage it -- but mocking a dead, beloved legend crosses the line."

Here's the response, featuring a credit to "Staff" to make it clear that Murray herself had no intention of pissing on Barrel Man's grave:

Since then, that friendly Twitter trash talk promised by the Murray troops has ceased entirely. But you can bet that if it starts up again in the days before the game, her minions will be tweeting a lot more carefully.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Sports archive circa January 2013: "Broncos superfan Hat Man on getting shot at in Kansas City -- and six other incredible stories."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts