ALLEN PARK, Mich. — It took the Detroit Lions 11 days to decide a tweet was a credible threat, but Allen Park Police wrapped up an investigation in a matter of hours via an email exchange.
The incident in question happened Jan. 16 when Jeff Moss, 41, replied to a tweet sent out by Detroit Lions online editor Chrissie Wywrot. He asked her to Photoshop an image of Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr. and Tim Twentyman, a reporter for DetroitLions.com, in a casket.
Representatives from the team did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding the incident with Moss, editor of the website, The Detroit Sports Rag.
The full tweet said, @Chrissie5213 Can you make me a PhotoShop [sic] of William Clay Ford, Sr. and Tim Twentyman in a casket? Thanks ahead of time.”
A few moments later, Moss sent another tweet asking Wywrot to Photoshop the Lions in the Super Bowl, “since that will never occur in real life.”
Wywrot runs social media accounts for the team. According to a police report, Wywrot told Bill Cory about the tweet. Eleven days after the tweet was posted, Cory called the police and asked them to come to the training facility.
“The week that the Seahawks and the Broncos are preparing for the Superbowl, they are turning their fans into the police for making tasteless jokes,” Moss said. “Then they made a cruiser come out instead of just driving over there. They asked a city that is under an emergency manager and is short staffed in their police department to send out a cruiser.
“Like it was so urgent that I was on my way to the training facility with a meat cleaver to come after an 89-year-old man.”
What makes matters even worse, Moss said, is that the Lions front office staff knows him and that he wouldn't seriously threaten anyone. The tweets were in response to a Wywrot photo of new coach Jim Caldwell and a birthday cake inserted with Photoshop.
The West Bloomfield resident believes that upper management like team president Tom Lewand was not involved in notifying the police.
“Lewand's no dummy, I don't like the way he runs the football team. But the guy is an attorney and went to the University of Michigan. I don't think he knew anything about this. If they would have went to him and said should we awake this sleeping bear ... He would have said, 'You're going to report Moss? He'll put it all over this website if you do this. He's not going to be scared by this.
He said that just two days before the tweet was made the team had changed the security process to get into press conferences because they knew he would try to get into the Caldwell press conference.
“I had just appeared a month earlier at a Comerica Park press conference when the Tigers signed Joe Nathan,” he said. “They found out that I was going to do the same thing and changed the process.
“I did ask as a joke (for credentials to the Caldwell press conference). I've been doing this for 11 years. For people who don't know the website, I would say it's like a Deadspin that's exclusively for Detroit. If you read Deadspin ... they have an adversarial relationship with ESPN and some of the people they cover.”
When the police first contacted him, Moss didn't have a clue what they wanted to talk about. He said that the tweet had been a throwaway joke, and it didn't cross his mind as potentially being anything that would launch an investigation.
“I asked the detective before I talked to him if I needed my first amendment attorney present,” he said. “He only wanted to talk on the phone.”
An email exchange between Moss and Detective Jim Thorburn confirms that the department didn't consider it a credible threat.
“There is no criminal element to this,” one of the Thorburn's emails to Moss said.
The same letter said the department was only trying to advise Moss of the situation and the conversation would only take “all of two minutes.”
Moss has been the subject of a few other incidents, lately — getting into the Tigers press conference to ask about the Doug Fister trade and, more recently, being removed from a Detroit Pistons game for heckling Joe Dumars for not drafting Michigan star Trey Burke.
“I'm critical — I don't sit there like a blogger,” he said, “like some of these guys who sit back and kiss the ass of the team and hope to get access. I don't really care about access. I want to tell the truth from my perspective as I see it. I don't think the mainstream media is doing it so I'm going to do it.”
Moss, who has about 16,000 Twitter followers, receives between 5,000-10,000 unique views per day on his website which began in 2003.