Nobody has ever accused Tony DeAngelo of being smart, and Deadspin’s No. 19 Idiot of the Year for 2020 is off to a strong start toward making our 2021 list.
After his guy Donald Trump got the boot from Twitter, DeAngelo nuked his own account in solidarity. But posters gotta post, and on Friday night, a new account appeared on Twitter, @NYRFan92360244, which just happened to start taking issue with tweets critical of DeAngelo after the Rangers’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Penguins in which DeAngelo flubbed the decisive attempt in the shootout.
When a Deadspin writer who hadn’t watched the Rangers-Penguins game noted that DeAngelo trending on Twitter — following fellow Rangers defenseman Jack Johnson having trended on Twitter — surely meant the Rangers lost, the definitely-not-DeAngelo account took serious offense, replying, “Real fucking funny dbag. Instead of taking cheap shots at a player you should get off the couch and trying going out there yourself.”
Another Deadspinner replied, “Hi Tony.”
Folks on Twitter started to take notice, beginning with user @uheeuhaha in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and NYRFan felt compelled to issue a blanket denial of his DeAngelo-ness, writing, “For the record, since for some reason people keep saying this, I’m NOT Tony DeAngelo. Just someone whose sick of him being criticized by people who know nothing about the game of hockey.”
And that’s when the fun really started, because on Saturday afternoon, user @nathancsn tweeted an image of some source code, none of which showed in any way that NYRFan was DeAngelo…
…but then was treated to three straight replies, which said, “What the fuck is this?” then, “You’re a liar,” then, finally, “How did you do this?”
Nathan didn’t do anything. DeAngelo just got deked as badly online as he does on the ice.
If it’s not DeAngelo behind the account, someone is either entirely far too devoted to a lousy hockey player and worse human being, or is such a meta genius as to have turned the whole idea of burners onto its head.
But the simplest explanation is that the NYRFan account set up right after a bad loss, following only the Rangers, the NHLPA, and a few hockey writers, and tweeting nothing but clapbacks at critics of DeAngelo — whether or not they even mentioned him by name — is none other than DeAngelo himself.
UPDATE, January 23, 6:42 p.m.: The simplest explanation may not be the one that works in this case. While the tweets from the NYRFan account certainly have a tone, level of spelling, and staunch support of DeAngelo that are hallmarks of DeAngelo, the initial tweets came so soon after the end of Friday night’s game as to make it highly unlikely that DeAngelo was the person doing the tweeting.
Unless DeAngelo didn’t bother undressing and showering after the game, the theory of it being him doesn’t hold up. And while a lot of Rangers fans would tell you that the defenseman stinks, that would be metaphorical stench, not literal.
Most likely, then, is that someone close to DeAngelo was at the keys on Friday night. The “How did you do this?” tweet on Saturday strongly suggests that it’s not just a prankster, but someone who thought that their identity might be in the process of being revealed. It also doesn’t mean that DeAngelo doesn’t have access to the account.
For now, we just don’t know. But we do know from NYRFan’s spelling that we’re not dealing with some kind of mastermind here. We’ll keep an eye on it.