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ESPN says it didn’t mean to troll Patriots with bizarre emoji tweet

(Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

For better or worse, ESPN has really gotten into the emoji game lately. Not only has the network introduced emoji recaps of NFL games on its programming, but during the New England Patriots’ 20-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday, ESPN’s “SportsCenter” account tweeted a bunch emojis of video cameras on footballs.

ESPN’s emoji recap of NFL games gets a thumbs down on Twitter

It didn’t take long for Patriots fans to blow their tops. Many thought “SportsCenter” was reminding the Internet of 2007’s “SpyGate” for which the NFL punished the Pats for videotaping the signals of the New York Jets’ defensive coaches.

No, no, no, ESPN tried to clarify the next day. The mysterious tweet was simply a critique of the length of the game because of the high-number of replays.

The network promised to “be better,” but not everyone is buying it, including WEEI’s Jerry Thornton, who critiqued the tweet and apology on Wednesday.

” ‘SportsCenter’ would like you to believe this was all just an innocent mistake. That lumping together a Patriots game and video cameras was not a dig at the Patriots,” he wrote. “[This] would be hard to swallow even if ESPN hadn’t spent the better part of the last decade and 24/7 of 2015 making a concerted effort to cast the Pats as cheaters who can’t win a thing unless they’re pointing a video camera at your signals or sticking needles into footballs in the bathroom.”

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He added: “If the people of New England have learned anything this year, it’s to know a troll job followed by an insincere apology when we see one.”