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What if Ryan Pace had burner accounts on Twitter?

The Bears’ general manager is known for having a dynamite poker face. If he did share his private opinions discretely, here’s what it would look like.

Chicago Tribune

One of the most bizarre sports stories in recent memory is that of Philadelphia 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo allegedly creating multiple Twitter accounts or “burners”, to publicly chastise individuals in the Sixers’ organization. From divulging private medical information on Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, to lambasting his players and other former members of the franchise, the budding scandal isn’t playing out well for Philadelphia’s lead personnel man. Try as you might, but no one can hide on the Internet.

This madness has brought about an interesting conversation on social media in the past few days: what if prominent sports figures are masquerading as “fans” on Twitter and other outlets to defend their credibility? What if they’re the “trolls” with limited followers and no discernible identity, that seemingly have the craziest opinions in response to criticisms of themselves? In this digital age, anything is plausible if you put your mind to it.

That brings about the question of the normally routinely quiet Pace. Pace, at least when he steps up to a microphone, is known for being overtly energetic and consistently optimistic regardless of the circumstances. In the few times he speaks a year (opening training camp, closing the regular season, opening the Scouting Combine), he’s almost always filled with sunshine and rainbows about the prospects of the Bears. Ever the politician, if he’s asked directly about any shortcomings (such as 14 wins in three seasons, or slow progress of draft picks), Pace hasn’t been likened to respond in a sincere fashion that actually elaborates on the issue at hand.

However, what if Pace has been addressing criticisms of his Bears’ tenure to this point, in bright daylight, and we just didn’t care enough to notice? What if he’s been blaming others and venting his frustrations out in the open this entire time?

Pace is one of the NFL’s youngest general managers at 41-years-old, so it’s not a stretch to say he has more social media savvy than given credit for. To be more in tune with the conversation surrounding the Bears than originally believed. It is a stretch, without any tangible evidence, to say he does have multiple burner accounts defending his honor, though.

For the purpose of this exercise, let’s assume Pace has had burners on Twitter ever since he took over the Bears’ mantle in January 2015. And, that he’s been going after his critics in small bursts without putting his own professional credibility on the line. We’ll focus on several major events, peaks and valleys of the Pace era, and other pieces of recent Chicago sports history as times he would’ve felt comfortable commenting through a throwaway handle.

These tweets are 100 percent fictitious and should not be construed as anything else.

When his first first round pick Kevin White missed the entirety of the 2015 season due to a stress fracture in his leg:

Robert Zeglinski

After the Bears upset the Packers on “Brett Favre Night” on Thanksgiving 2015:

Robert Zeglinski

Amidst the hindsight firestorm of trading Brandon Marshall to the Jets:

Robert Zeglinski

Reaction to the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2016:

Robert Zeglinski

Doing damage control after trading up for and drafting Mitchell Trubisky:

Apologies, that one is real. Let’s try again.

Robert Zeglinski

Deflections of Leonard Floyd injury concerns following his rookie season:

Robert Zeglinski

After Mike Glennon’s first two starts as a Bear didn’t go as planned:

Robert Zeglinski

In the thick of an Alvin Kamara breakout rookie season, who the Bears supposedly should’ve drafted:

Oh wait, that tweet is also real. Let me try again.

Robert Zeglinski

Following introductions of Matt Nagy as the Bears’ new head coach this past January:

Robert Zeglinski

Finally, after the Bears’ 2018 Draft, where they didn’t address defensive edge rusher until the sixth round:

Robert Zeglinski

What this Colangelo mess teaches us is that everyone is susceptible to the pressures and negativity that social media presents. We’re human beings, and as human beings, we’re social creatures inclined to defend our work and name at all costs. No one is safe, and no one is too big from interacting with the masses to attempt to shape the public narrative from every platform available.

Doing it on Twitter from the most minute of accounts makes little sense, though, as the impact is minimal. The nature of social media dictates that no matter how successful you do become, you’ll always face dissent, so your mission becomes a never-ending treadmill. If you’re doing it to let off steam, let off steam (healthily) in the privacy of your own home, or in a private journal. That’s much simpler, less time consuming, and less incriminating.

Let this be a lesson to every general manager, team president, and player combing through their social media platforms and currently deleting their burners in the wake of what’s unfolding with Colangelo. Whether that includes the Bears’ Pace (unlikely) or not.

Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and is a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.