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Auto-replied racial slur ruins Patriots Twitter celebration

Auto-Replied Racial Slur Ruins Patriots Twitter Celebration



The New England Patriots - as much as any team in the brand-heavy NFL - are a powerhouse brand. But while the team tried to promote that brand Thursday, its image took a hit.

As the first NFL team to achieve 1 million followers on Twitter, the team wanted to reward its fans. Retweet this message, and we'll auto reply putting your Twitter handle as the jersey name. Fans seemed to love it, hitting retweet more than 8,500 times as of early Friday morning.

But as is always the case with social media gaffes, the team did not delete the tweet before lots and lots of screengrabs got out. For about an hour, the team's account had a tweet and custom jersey up thanking someone with a handle that included the N-word.

As you heard, the team quickly tweeted an apology saying its filtering system failed and "we will be more vigilant in the future."

To be fair, the reasoning behind the gaffe seems legit since one of the letters in the slur was simply a lowercase "L" that looked a whole lot like an uppercase "I." It's the apparent lack of thinking these things through, though, that tends to get these big brands in trouble.

For instance, when Florida State decided to hold a Twitter Q&A session with star quarterback Jameis Winston in August only months after sexual assault and larceny allegations surfaced. That social media campaign quickly turned snarky at best, vicious at worst.

Or when the much-maligned Malaysia Airlines briefly offered free flights and iPads in early September to the winners of a "My Ultimate Bucket List" competition. The airline saw two planes go down this year killing hundreds on board.

Perhaps SB Nation put it best in regards to the Patriots' gaffe.

"When you put yourself at the mercy of the Internet's stupidity, things like this happen. Don't put yourself at the mercy of the Internet's stupidity."

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New England Patriots
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Auto-replied racial slur ruins Patriots Twitter celebration
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 12: Tom Brady cracks a smile during Patriots practice warmups at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 12: Coach Bill Belichick walks the sidelines during New England Patriots practice at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 6: New England Patriots quarterback (#43) Nate Ebner at an afternoon practice. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 02: Malik Jackson (97) of the Denver Broncos and Dan Connolly (63) of the New England Patriots jaw during the second half of the Patriots' 43-21 win at Gillette Stadium. The Denver Broncos visit the New England Patriots in a week 9 AFC showdown. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 02: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quater against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 02: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts during the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 02: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes the ball during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 02: Brandon Browner #39 of the New England Patriots reacts during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 02: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes the ball during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 02: Patriots owner Robert Kraft stands on the field during the first half of action between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium. The Denver Broncos visit the New England Patriots in a week 9 AFC showdown. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 1: New England Patriots Julian Edelman celebrates his punt return touchdown with teammate Tom Brady against the Denver Broncos during second quarter action at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, November 1, 2014. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 1: As the final 15 seconds tick off the clock, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, left, and Tom Brady, right, meet quickly, shook hands even quicker and then they separated. The New England Patriots hosted the Denver Broncos in a regular season NFL game at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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