It was a nightmarish evening Wednesday for us lofty folks who are verified on Twitter and get to show off that status with the social media currency of a check mark next to our names.
Owing to a breach on the site during which several high-profile verified accounts were hacked, Twitter shut down the tweeting ability of ALL verified accounts for a few hours (though we could still retweet. At least we could still do that).
It proved to be a wise move. Even my account, usually the home for dad jokes, kid updates, jumpsuit enthusiasm (and sports) was not spared. Yes, everyone: I was hacked.
These particularly clever hackers had a strange mission, but they accomplished it beautifully: Back-dating tweets onto my timeline attributed to me to make it look like I had brandished some terribly wrong sports opinions over the years.
I’ve only begun to uncover the damage done during the breach, but I have at least managed to find five key instances so far.
*The hackers seemed to have a particular affinity for making it look like I was a huge proponent of the Vikings drafting Johnny Manziel in 2014.
Asserting he will be a better pro than Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater? Preposterous.
Making it sound like I would fight anyone who didn’t think Manziel would be a great NFL quarterback? The stuff of psychopaths who clearly have no regard for my reputation.
Tweeting a link and manufacturing an entire blog post after the Vikings took Bridgewater instead of Manziel? Have to admit I’m impressed, but still pretty steamed.
It’s the kind of stuff that I hope pushes my case to the top of the list of any resulting federal investigation.
*The hackers seemed to have a real affinity for 2014 because they also inserted into my timeline an opinion that perhaps Andrew Wiggins — who had yet to play an NBA game — was already better than Klay Thompson.
*The hackers tried to make it look like I was all-in on the idea that Adrian Peterson would be traded in 2015.
They even went so far as to create phony pictures — obviously deepfakes if you look closely — of Sid Hartman and I after I allegedly (in the fantasy world of whomever was doing this damage to my account) lost a $1 bet about that very subject.
I know it looks like me. I know it looks like my handwriting. That’s what makes all of this even scarier.
*In perhaps the creepiest breach of all, the hackers used Twitter to link to my Instagram account — a two-for-one — to show me wearing a pair of obscenely short shots that ostensibly, according to their half-baked theory, came after I made a wager that Tarvaris Jackson would lead the Vikings to a playoff win over the Eagles in 2008.
I mean, I let my kids see my Instagram page. They shouldn’t have to look at things like that. Disgusting.
*And finally, a favorite target of the hackers apparently was making it seem like I have a weakness for thinking the Timberwolves are on the verge of a breakthrough after wildly mistaking a small sample size of success for a trend.
The instances of these types of tweets are dotted all throughout the past decade of the manufactured, fictional timeline they would have you believe really represents my true self. Just one example: A tweet from March 10, 2017, asking if the Wolves had turned a corner.
They were 27-37 at the time, following a respectable 13-9 stretch, but their schedule was about to stiffen while their resolve was about to weaken as they drifted out of any sort of contention. All rational people could see that, and indeed that’s what happened en route to a 4-14 record over the final 18 games.
But that’s not what the hackers would have you believe. They want you to believe that I am prone to letting wishful thinking drown out logic.
I can only hope that Wednesday’s long nightmare is not repeated, that the hackers are brought to swift justice and that nobody dares to do this again — particularly not with any trumped-up opinions about the Twins and Mike Pelfrey.