Golden Tate runs a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash; but even he can’t keep up with the nearly-900 horsepower of a NASCAR Sprint Cup stock car.
The second-year Seahawks receiver inadvertently threw down the green flag on a head-to-head Twitter war shootout with NASCAR nation. Following the nominations for Male Athlete of the Year at the ESPY Awards, @ShowtimeTate tweeted:
Jimmy Johnson up for best athlete???? Um nooo .. Driving a car does not show athleticism.
The former Notre Dame star and Biletnikoff Award winner was then blitzed from all angles by fans of NASCAR, stock car racing and five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson — who ultimately lost the Male Athlete ESPY to sweet-shooting Dallas Deutschman Dirk Nowitzki.
And as fast as Tate had angered the racing Twitter world, he attempted to backpedal from the opinion expressed in his original tweet:
Apologies for my offensive comment to NASCAR fans. I actually read up on it and NO I couldn’t race a car 150 mph.
But that didn’t stop an angry Twitter mob tired of the age-old “drivers aren’t athletes” stereotype that was further perpetuated by Tate — who, in turn, called out to the Seahawks’ rabid “12th Man” fanbase to save him:
12th man get these rednecks off me.
By the end of the Twitter war, the Nashville native changed his tune in favor of a sport — or at least a fanbase — whose roots run deep in the South:
I will say my respect for NASCAR has gone up tremendously yalls fans r hard nose and passionate #respect!
Tate went so far as to appear on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio in an attempt to clear the air — or find clean air at the front of the pack, in race-speak.
“I will say this: NASCAR fans, do not mess with them,” Tate told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“Do not mess with them. They will eat you alive. …
“I wasn’t really too familiar with Jimmie Johnson. I didn’t mean it to be any disrespect, although it might have come across that way.”
In the end, Tate proved fast enough on his feet and tweet to earn a comment from the five-time reigning Cup king himself — the man behind the wheel of the 48 Lowe’s Chevy and the nominee for the Male Athlete ESPY.