Petrie designs shoes for Nike — specifically, shoes for LeBron James. And when Derrick Rose tore his ACL the other night, Petrie fired off a tweet that many felt mocked Rose's injury and suggested the mishap wouldn't have happened had Rose, who endorses Adidas products, signed with Nike instead.
Nike confirmed that Petrie was indeed one of their employees and released a statement calling the tweet "inappropriate
Those outraged by Petrie's tweet publicly tweeted back insult after insult at the shoe designer, many saying they hope he gets canned for the transgression.
But should Petrie get fired over this incident?
Let's determine an answer using the following observations:
Petrie's Twitter account has no bio (perhaps it did before) indicating who he is or who he works for.
He uses a picture of a Nike shoe as his Twitter photo, but one could argue that anyone could use an innocuous photo of a sneaker as their profile picture and not mean to endorse the maker of the sneaker.
We don't know whether or not Petrie set up the account with Nike's blessing, or if it's simply a personal account he took with him when he began working for the company as a shoe designer.
There is no clear evidence that Petrie is tweeting on Nike's behalf with his account.
We don't know Nike's social media policies regarding tweeting company business from personal accounts.
Numbers 3, 4, and 5 could sway this argument should we discover that Petrie was tweeting in some sort of official capacity for Nike from his personal account. But knowing what we know now, I don't think Petrie should be fired. Did he act in poor taste? Probably. Does he deserve the backlash he's getting? That's up to you.
I don't really follow basketball, at least not to the point where I know the names of sneaker designers. If I were to stumble across Petrie's Twitter feed, not knowing who he is, what he does, or who he works for, I wouldn't be able to readily determine he is a sneaker designer who works for Nike. For that reason, I'm saying he shouldn't be fired.
No doubt this whole incident will continue to ignite debate. But ironically, this much is clear: lines between personal and professional lives are blurred by social media. Even if you're not high-profile, or your following is small, one tweet could catapult you to viral stardom very quickly, and not always for good reasons. Even if you don't friend or follow anyone from work
, it appears you're not immune.
Perhaps the real controversy here is not whether Petrie should be fired over a tweet, but whether it's right that his personal use of a social tool gives us permission to ask the question in the first place.
We'll have to wait for further details to emerge.
What do you think? Should Petrie be fired? Let us know in the comments.