FanPost

The real takeaway from the catfishing of USMNT Twitter

The Crazy Story

This story has everything (Stefon from SNL voice): catfishing, a fake cancer diagnosis, stolen valor, every notable U.S. Soccer Twitter account, Weston McKennie, and Sergiño Dest.

US Soccer Twitter stans will know Charlie Kennan or at least the Twitter account which claimed to be a person with that name. @Charlie_Kennan was a solid source of information about USMNT youth prospects and had broken enough small bits of USYNT news that he was a source you could trust for USYNT info and takes.

How quickly that changed.

On Sunday @Charlie_Kennan Tweeted a hospital photo complete with a diagnosis of brain cancer. The support and love rolled in. Over 5,000 likes, Tweets of support from Paul Arriola and the Men in Blazers and the absolute best…video messages of support from Weston McKennie (in the middle of the night) and Sergiño Dest.

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The word hoax is incorrectly used a lot these days. Turns out this was an actual hoax.

The following day a Twitter user @thatboyylukee provided quick receipts that the photo was him. Taken after he beat cancer and it was him celebrating being cancer free for one year. And worse Luke’s father added that his son was active duty military during his Twitter fight:

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I’ve got zero answers for why someone would try and catfish the US Soccer community with a false claim of a brain cancer diagnosis. I’m happy they were immediately caught. And that they didn’t lie when caught. The silent deletion of @Charlie_Kennan is an unquestionable guilty verdict.

The Takeaway

There’s no shortage of negatives here. But that’s not the takeaway here.

I’m proud of and you should be proud of the US Soccer Twitter community showing support and sending inspiring messages. Weston McKennie and Sergiño Dest deserve praise for seeing someone facing a difficult situation and immediately using their spotlight to provide inspiration. Even if the situation was manufactured.

Honestly this situation didn’t remind me the internet can be toxic. It affirmed to me that McKennie & Dest are the type of people I’m proud to support (though McKennie’s SI profile had also already done that). The sky’s the limit for their skill on the soccer field, but also as powerful and inspiring voices.

This may be subtle, but I said people, not players or athletes.

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