If only the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service could settle the NHL lockout as quickly as it dropped Guy Serota from the mediation.
On Monday afternoon, Serota was named by the independent federal agency as one of three mediators assigned to the collective bargaining dispute between the NHL and the NHLPA.
Within moments of the announcement, intrepid hockey fans had discovered Serota's Twitter feed, which identified him as "Commissioner with Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, United States Government." Serota's worked with the FMCS for 15 years.
The feed featured several partisan political comments, referencing "Karl Rove and Republican math" and "Great morning here in USA! Obama is still President. Restores my faith in the American voter (after 2 terms George W)."
But it also featured a slew of off-color jokes; some inspired by late night talk show host Craig Ferguson, whose term "ass mode" was cited by Serota out of context (and the amusement of others); and this one that referenced comedian Sarah Silverman in a clunky, uncomfortable tweet:
The hockey Twittersphere gleefully piled on Serota, mocking the sudden celebrity. He deleted his Twitter feed, although it was soon resurrected with a message claiming the feed had been hacked.
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reached Serota, who said his feed had in fact been hacked and that he was not running his new Twitter account, i.e., it was an imposter who scooped up the I.D. when Serota deleted the account.
The FMCS apparently had seen enough, however. In one of the least surprising moves of the NHL lockout, Serota was removed from the case, just over two hours after the initial announcement of the NHL mediation.
Here's Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen's statement on the matter:
"Within one hour after I issued a press release announcing that further negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA would be conducted under the auspices of the FMCS, it has been called to my attention that there are issues involving an allegedly hacked Twitter account associated with Commissioner Guy Serota, one of the mediators I assigned. Accordingly, in order to immediately dispel any cloud on the mediation process, and without regard to the merits of the allegations, I have determined to take immediate action, namely to remove Commissioner Serota from this
Yes, a Twitter hack that lasted multiple weeks, was unnoticed by a federal employee and didn't seem to have a point. A Twitter hack that seemed to have messages and themes (Kathy Baker; jokes about David Patraeus) that oddly synced up with Guy Serota's YouTube account
Yup. Hacked. Just like Jukt Micronics.
Honestly, nothing Serota tweeted really bothered us all that much, nor did it seem to indicate he didn't have the integrity to mediate the dispute between the owners and players in the NHL. His removal is the result of the wide-ranging mockery of his feed; his hasty and attention-fueling decision to delete the feed; and the embarrassment that he caused the FMCS in what be a record amount of time. (And for the federal government, that's saying something.)
Here's full collection of the wit and wisdom of Commissioner Serota, via Ryan Lambert and 5-Hole Eric:
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