It seems like in 2013, the best way to cozy up to popular, wealthy (or soon-to-be-wealthy, in the case of Manti Te’o) athletes online is to find a picture of an attractive female – the less clothing she’s wearing, the better – use it as your twitter avatar, and wait for the direct messages to start flying. If you’re desperate for attention from athletes, it seems to work. Jeff Darlington of NFL.com has uncovered a woman attempting to do just that with some Washington Redskins:
… at least four Redskins players also became aware of their own role in a completely separate, coincidentally timed and ultimately less harmful saga of false online identities.
On multiple occasions, several Redskins players attempted to arrange meetings with “Ackerman,” but none of them succeeded, Daniels said. The numerous failed attempts led to suspicion, and Daniels then received some independent information about the possibility that “Ackerman” was indeed a fake.
Unlike Te’o, none of the Redskins players involved became emotionally attached to “Ackerman,” but instead pursued her out of nothing more than physical appeal, sources close to the situation said. “Ackerman” also sent at least one player a pornographic video of [internet adult entertainer C.J. Miles], which she also claimed to be herself. On certain occasions, “Ackerman” also doctored photos of Miles in an attempt to personalize them in order to provide the athletes with a sense that she was indeed the person she claimed to be.
“I think it was all about attention,” Daniels said. “I don’t think it was any of the other stuff. It was just about being able to talk to them, pretending to be someone they aren’t. It was never a situation where guys were giving money or anything like that.”
It’s time to add Catfishing to NFL rookie orientation. And probably to whatever college football programs do at their orientation, too. [NFL.com]