METAIRIE, La. — As social media becomes more and more a part of everyday habits, it has proven to be an avenue for professional athletes to interact with fans.
Or, in Asante Samuel’s case, have trash talk lobbed his way.
And the Atlanta Falcons cornerback is quite all right with that.
“It’s kind of fun. Nothing is personal for me,” said Samuel, who tweets from @pick_six22. “Anything I say and do I approach it as fun. I like to talk a little smack here and there. That’s what I do.”
It’s also what fans do, especially Saints fans, who Samuel said tweet him the most trash.
One Saints fan in particular has made it his daily duty during Falcons week to lob as much Samuel’s way as he can possibly tweet.
Saints fan @angrywhodat has been Samuel’s most frequent tormenter, spending time before – and after – New Orleans’ Nov. 11 win over the Falcons heckling the cornerback. And it has continued this week.
One of the tweeter’s most recent attempts to solicit a response from the Atlanta cornerback included this 127-character post. “Remember when u tried to cover the Saints receivers but they owned you for 60 minutes? We loved you then and still do now #hugs”
On one play, Saints running back Chris Ivory sprinted right past Samuel on his 56-yard touchdown run and @angrywhodat hasn’t let him forget.
“It is simply our curiosity at the strategy you utilized on the Ivory run, you kept running away from him,” he tweeted Tuesday, later adding, “Sir you still haven't responded, must have missed my tweets, will you employ the run-away-from-Ivory strategy again Thursday?”
Through Tuesday night, Samuel hasn’t responded to any of the tweets, said the @angrywhodat, who requested to remain behind his handle anonymously.
And that includes after the Saints’ fan mocked Samuel for his Twitter handle. Samuel has 10 interceptions returned for a touchdown in his career, including one this season against Oakland.
Tweeted @angrywhodat, “Sir, since 2009 38 other players have as many or more pick_sixes as you, do you think it's time to change your twitter handle?”
When asked why he enjoys the trash-talking, @angrywhodat called it fun, pointing out the accessibility of social media in interacting with players.
“We have never before been able to speak directly to athletes and really be heard,” @angrywhodat said in a direct message. “I’ve tweeted Samuel dozens of times since that terribly played Ivory run. He won’t respond, but when you quote him as saying Saints fans talk the most trash, I know he has taken notice.”
Samuel takes the heckling in stride and says that, in a way, it helps him prepare for games.
“That keeps me going, that keeps me energetic, it keeps me loving the game of football and it keeps me competitive,” Samuel said.