Sports fans tend to be, well, fanatic. To many, it's what a player does during the game, not his or her off-field antics that matter.
Moment of the Champions League final with FC Barcelona's Leo Messi, left, going against Patrice Evra of Juventus at Olympiastadion in Berlin on June 6, 2015. (Photo by Biser Todorov via Wikimedia Commons)
That kind of no-questions-asked support was what the Barcelona football -- or soccer, as most Americans call the sport -- team was counting on in the wake of its star player's tax evasion conviction.
Public outreach, tax backlash: Last week after Lionel Messi was found guilty by a Spanish court of three counts of tax evasion and sentenced to 21 months in jail, Barça as the team is called launched a social media campaign to rally Messi fans.
In a post on its Twitter account, the team asked the 29-year-old Argentinian's fans to use the hashtag #WeAreAllLeoMessi to show their support.
Here's something that's no surprise to anyone who follows Twitter. Barcelona's fan outreach (dare I say it?) got messy.
Denouncing tax evasion: The good news for the tax world is that many folks on the 140-character social media outlet support the following of tax laws.
Many of them took to Twitter to slam the multimillionaire soccer player for his tax actions.
Messi's missed kick: Some fans of Messi's national team also took the opportunity to slam the player for missing a penalty kick during Argentina's loss this summer in the Copa América final with Chile.
Unwelcome tax advice: And Spanish tax officials are hoping that residents don't follow one person's suggestion that everyone be like Messi and stop paying taxes.
Oops! By now, I'm sure Barcelona is thinking what Ed DeCesare said:
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