KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Chiefs may have messed with the wrong guy.
A direct message from the official @kcchiefs Twitter account to an angry fan ignited a social media firestorm Tuesday, underscoring the viral nature of this digital age.
Travis Wright, a global social media manager based in Kansas City, tweeted a gripe (which you can see at http://bit.ly/Nnhzpz ) about the Chiefs' low payroll spending on Monday night.
The next day, he posted the following direct message, or private tweet, he received from the team's official Twitter account (pictured above):
"Would help if you had your facts straight. Your choice to be a fan. cc get a clue"
Wright posted the screengrab of the message on several social media sites Tuesday, including Reddit, where the thread received hundreds of comments.
The Chiefs tweeted the following apology late Tuesday afternoon:
I apologize to the fans for my response to a tweet sent to me earlier. No excuse for my actions. I am truly sorry and it won't happen again.
I apologize to the fans for my response to a tweet sent to me earlier. No excuse for my actions. I am truly sorry and it won't happen again.— Kansas City Chiefs (@kcchiefs) September 11, 2012
A team spokesman confirmed that the apology was in relation to the exchange with Wright, and said an employee in the social media department acknowledged making a mistake. They declined to provide further comment.
But Wright wasn't even aware of the apology tweet until a Reddit user pointed it out. The Chiefs blocked his account, @teedubya, on Twitter after the exchange Monday night.
He said that as of early Tuesday evening, he was still blocked from seeing the Chiefs' account.
"The funny thing about (the apology) is that I personally didn't see it," Wright said. "They didn't apologize to me, they apologized to everyone else because of the backlash."
Wright said that as the social media manager for a Fortune 500 company, he has to deal with disgruntled customers on an almost daily basis. While it's easy to get frustrated, he said it's his job as the voice of a billion-dollar brand to represent it properly.
"That's why I made a big stink about it," he said. "I'm not trying to get the guy (who sent me the message) fired, I'm trying to get them to understand they can't treat their fans with contempt."
Of all the fans the Chiefs could have riled up, Wright was probably not the best choice. With more than 123,500 Twitter followers -- compared to the Chiefs' 107,600 -- he has a larger audience than the team.
Wright, who is from Butler, Mo., and now lives in Lee's Summit, said he has been a Chiefs fan his whole life and has gone to more than 100 games.
He hopes the Chiefs learn from this experience.
"In the Twitter age, everyone has an audience -- mine happens to be over 120,000," he said. "Now, every voice can be heard."