SBD/Issue 172/Franchises

Warriors Official Posts Comment Supporting Team On Fan Web Site

Warriors Exec Dir of PR Raymond Ridder has acknowledged that he was the "author of an anonymous comment" posted Thursday afternoon to the WarriorsWorld.net fan Web site that "defended Warriors management," according to Tim Kawakami of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Ridder: "It was 100% me. And I'll take 100% responsibility, if anybody thinks I did anything wrong. It was completely on my own. I've never been told to do anything by anybody here. It was just me. It was nothing malicious at all." Ridder, writing as "Flunkster Dude," wrote that he "appreciated that afternoon's season-ticket-holder conference call" conducted by GM Larry Riley, President Robert Rowell and broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald. Ridder posted, "I actually enjoyed the call and appreciate their honesty." Kawakami noted there was an "immediate uproar on the WW.net site when the site managers revealed that they had traced the comment's IP address to the Warriors offices." Ridder: "I just wanted to get the conversation going in a positive direction -- I thought we had a good conference call, I had some good conversations with some season-ticket-holders, then I got to my office and I looked on the Internet and all I saw was negative comments." Ridder said that "all he was trying to do was steer the conversation to a positive place." Ridder also confirmed that he has "posted four other comments to WW.net anonymously defending management or otherwise trying to get the conversation going in 'a positive direction.'" Kawakami wrote Ridder "wasn't trying to be malicious" in posting the comment, but it was a "terrible mistake" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 5/21).

PAR FOR THE COURSE: In S.F., Ray Ratto wrote the incident made Warriors officials and the team they are "gently running into the ground look petty, paranoid, manipulative and dishonest on top of already looking ignorant, irrelevant and self-aggrandizing." The problem with Ridder's comment "isn't that the Warriors shouldn't promote their side but that they're so spectacularly bad at it." On sites like WarriorsWorld, those with "other avenues of discourse on a given subject (the media, club officials, politicians, etc.) either announce themselves ahead of time or simply stay outside," and Ridder "crossed that line, no matter what his intentions might have been, and he made the organization, already known for its hypersensitivity to facts and criticism, look even more so." Ratto: "But to focus on Ridder is to miss the bigger picture" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/24). CNET.com's Chris Matyszczyk wrote, "You might think that Flunkster Dude has flunked the very first test of social media. You might think that someone who posts anonymously about honest, when himself being just slightly less than entirely honest about his interest in the matter, might just think about a career in politics" (CNET.com, 5/23). In California, Cam Inman wrote the comment was a "slimy way to drum up positive chatter on the Internet," and Ridder is "not a slimy guy, so I really fear what this will do to this reputation." But what Ridder did is "not all that uncommon in the mainstream media." Inman: "This is a wake-up call to blogs, everywhere: You are not off-limits from the propaganda teams often spew" (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 5/22).

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