I was starting to get worried about Darren Rovell. It had been a while since the rampaging monarch of Twitter Wars had his last battle. We've seen Rovell go toe to toe with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, Jamie Edmondson of Playboy, and just about everyone in between throughout the year 2012.
Bomani Jones is a regular on ESPN's Around the Horn, but has a much more expansive profile beyond that. He's written for ESPN's Page 2, hosted a popular radio show on the Score (now The Evening Jones on Monday nights), and is one of the high-profile talent acquisitions of the SB Nation powerhouse. He also carries around the awesome Big Gold Belt and has paid lenghty tribute to the Nature Boy, so he can't be afraid to mix things up. Perhaps it was only a matter of time then until Bomani Jones and Darren Rovell crossed paths.
It all started innocuously enough with one of Darren Rovell's trademark random tweets of statistical intrigue. Followers (and haters) of Rovell know his style. There are the headlines, the polls (LETTERS ONLY), the pictures of food, the sports business insights, the Twitter feuds, and the statistics. Lots of them. Rovell often breaks down relevant topics on Twitter numerically, trying to provide a unique perspective. It was one of those statistical tweets about Mario Williams' free agent deal in Buffalo that began this Twitter war...
While the tweet seems innocent enough on the surface, there were certainly underlying messages about the disparity of income between Mario Williams and his new city (and the resentment of middle class fans of athletes making millions) that didn't sit well with Jones. Bomani sent out a ferocious flurry as he pummeled Rovell and chatted with fans at ringside like he was Drederick Tatum ... but was it enough to defeat the sports Twitter czar himself?
In one corner stands the man who has survived one legendary Twitter feud after another. In the other corner stands the proud owner of not only his own championship belt, but also the #BEATEMDOWN hashtag. To be the man, you gotta beat the man... but could Bomani Jones beat the man on Twitter? Let's find out...
This was definitely a matchup of contrasting styles and one that is extremely tough to score - Bomani working at an insanely quick tempo and Rovell definitely picking his spots with some well placed blows. The opening salvo of Jones was devastating and his point cuts to the heart of a serious matter. Fans know athletes make millions of dollars. We don't need stats showing Mario Williams vs the median household income of Buffalo to prove that. Is it ridiculous that grown men get millions of dollars to play a game for a living? Of course! But we all feed into and support that system. We watch games and buy tickets and circulate ad revenue and allow it to happen. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. It's capitalism. Additionally, Bomani's use of the word "masturbatory" in this opening barrage was masterful.
But it was then when Rovell rebounded with a stinging tweet that pointed to his Twitter supremacy and tried to make him appear as the bigger man in one stroke. "Sorry you don't like my comparisons and they don't do anything for you. if most people didn't like them, i'd of course stop." That's a passive aggressive haymaker if I've ever seen it. If only Rick Reilly had thought of something, anything like that to come back at Norm Macdonald.
Rovell then continued in that vein and attempted the walk off victory while also planting the seed for a future political run - "back to the tourney & kudos to the teachers, fire fighters, cops & electricians who make $39K & are great at what they do." You never know, Mitt Romney may be looking outside the box for a potential running mate.
That was also the point in the fight when Jones made a misstep with this double reverse humblebrag tweet - "i'm not much on bragging, but if you don't think i'm not here curb stomping @darrenrovell, you can't read. it's a massacre." That's a lot to wrap your mind around in 140 characters including way too many double and triple negatives to comprehend. Although it's a brash move, anyone that needs to brag about their own massacre of someone else on Twitter while saying they aren't much on bragging gets automatic points taken off the scorecard.
Jones did make a comeback though with challenging Rovell to post his own salary and compare it to Buffaloians... Buffaloites... Buffa... err... whatever. An effective counterpunch and one Rovell chose to deflect. Rovell finally tried to use a poll in one last swing, but it just ended up proving Jones' point further.
In the end, as tough as it is to judge, I'm scoring this as a countout victory for Bomani Jones. Both combatants had a few hits, but also enough misses to make it difficult to declare a definitive winner. Rovell didn't seem interested in a full out conflict and instead tried to pick his spots wisely. When Bomani Jones brought the heavy lumber, Rovell decided to walk away and live to fight another day, taking his Twitter version of the Big Gold Belt with him.
But that's just my take. How do you score it? Have your say and vote in the poll below.
Afterwards, Rovell had this to say...