Today was supposed to be a normal day.
I was spitballing ideas for a prospective freelance article for The Athletic’s Ottawa hub when I noticed that two of my tweets were subsequently liked by an account that I had never seen before.
I had so many questions.
Is that the Senators’ former team president, Cyril Leeder?
It wasn’t even my two tweets, the account’s list of likes was and continues to be incredible.
Being the internet where anyone can pretend to be anyone, there was simply no way that the Senators’ former team president, Cyril Leeder, would like tweets portraying Senators owner Eugene Melnyk in a poor light.
A quick glance of the account revealed a few things:
- Created in May of 2017, the account was relatively new.
- There was no blue check mark to identify it as a verified account.
- At the time, the account only had 52 followers.
Based on this combination of factors, I almost dismissed it entirely, but then that I noticed that the account was being followed by local sports journalists and personalities like Wayne Scanlan, Dean Brown, Steve Warne, AJ Jakubec and Marc Brassard. Perhaps most importantly, the account’s first follow was Allison Vaughan — the Senators’ manager of hockey administration.
Would any of these individuals be duped into following a fake account?
I suppose it is possible, but the more I looked into the account’s history, the more convinced I became that it was real.
The account frequently tweeted the Senators’ first owner, Bruce Firestone.
There was also a back and forth with mayor Jim Watson in the early fall.
Former city councillor and deputy mayor for the City of Ottawa, Steve Desroches, tweeted at Leeder quite regularly before the masses were brought to the attention of this account today.
The account was even tagged in a tweet that showed Leeder on the day that he received the Order of Ottawa on November 17th.
That these individuals tweeted or followed Leeder believing that the account is real, isn’t evidence enough to prove that it actually is. That said, nobody should ever have the time or energy to create a bogus Leeder account, right?
After a little more digging through the account’s history, I found an innocuous reply to a Business Insider tweet about the iPhone X, Leeder tagged his son in the response.
Would a fake account take the time to write a response to an iPhone X tweet and correctly identify the name of Leeder’s son?
I doubt it and the fact that Leeder doesn’t really know how to tag his son correctly or isn’t cognizant of the fact that his likes and tweets can be publicly available somehow makes the account seem convincing.
Not everyone was easily persuaded, however.
As one Twitter follower pointed out, the account in question used to go by the user name @RedRams10 before making the switch to @cyleeder, which could help discredit the account’s validity.
A quick Google search revealed that Leeder played high school basketball for the Brockville Collegiate Red Rams in the 1970’s.
Would a bogus account go to all these lengths?
In the immortal words of Daniel Alfredsson, probably not. There are simply too many coincidences and indicators to make me believe that this account isn’t actually Leeder — which makes it all the more hilarious to see the former team president inadvertently use Twitter as a mechanism to rip Melnyk publicly at a time when the owner’s grasp on the Senators is allegedly becoming more tenuous.
It makes me wonder, if Leeder’s likes are just the tip of the iceberg, just wait until the stories come out if and when Melnyk actually follows through with a sale of the team.