'RIP my mentions': What it's like to share a name with a famous athlete

ByKelly Cohen via ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Human resources manager Lucas W. Falk is not Luke Falk, quarterback for the New York Jets. But that didn't stop the Tennessee Titans from accidentally sending him a part of their playbook last year. He tweeted about it earlier this month in a now-viral thread.

Falk said, in a message to ESPN, that he received the playbook to his email address from an assistant coach, and that he "thought about leveraging it for game tickets or swag. My friends joked about me sending it to the Patriots because you know they'd take it. Ultimately I did nothing because I didn't want anyone to get in trouble or worse, me be arrested for blackmail."

But that's not all that has been sent. "I received emails from college teams inviting me to take official visits and questionnaires from NFL teams looking to draft Luke Falk. I was formally invited by the NFL to attend the combine and was offered assistance by an NFL team's realtor to settle in to a new place once Luke was drafted."

He still gets some of Luke's emails that are "usually spam, or the occasional Eddie Bauer coupon that I feel no shame in using. I'm sure he gets stuff intended for me but nothing of consequence like what I've received."

Falk isn't the only one who regularly gets mistaken for a star athlete of the same name.

Dee Ford (@dee_ford), who lives in Kent, England, is thankful the Internet sometimes confuses her for Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Dee Ford (@IamDeeFord), telling ESPN in a message that the mixup has brought her new lifelong friends -- and a few trips across the pond.

For her, the confusion began in 2014, when former Auburn University athletic director Jay Jacobs tagged her in a tweet thinking she was the other Ford.

"It's brought me friends all over America that I'd never have known otherwise -- and in November I make my third visit to Auburn, my second this year, to watch Georgia play. So, it's worked out OK in the end!! I've got a lot to thank Dee for," she wrote.

But she has also been called a few bad words after losses.

"I'm pretty used to it after over five years, but the vitriol towards Dee after the offside mistake was mind blowing. I'm glad it was me who got the messages and not him because he's a lovely guy and didn't deserve the abuse," Ford told ESPN, referring to a blown call in a January 2019 game that cost the 49ers the game.

Another user, Alison Becker (@thealisonbecker), is now a soccer fan, especially of Alisson Becker (@alissonbecker) of Liverpool.

"I think the funniest mix-ups are angry fans who come at me online," she told ESPN. "Being a little bit known as an actor myself, I've learned that there are always mean people online who attack. And it hurts. But when they're not even coming for the right person, it puts it all in perspective. I love tweeting back at trolls things like. 'Well maybe I missed that save but at least I can tell the difference between a male goalkeeper and a female comedian.' And the LFC fans usually have my back."

Right before Becker signed with Liverpool in July 2018, the comic says she tweeted, as a joke, that she was excited to join the football club, and "fans lost their s---." Some media sites even wrote about her prank, she said.

Fans online have been generally kind to her, Becker said, and in addition to becoming a soccer fan, she also scored a limited edition jersey signed by Alisson himself.

There have been other classic mixups, like when Chelsea LaSalle -- a brand designer in New York City -- found herself in a pickle when she snagged the username @Chelsea on Twitter before Chelsea Football Club could.

Or how about Antonio Bryant (@AB89), a former NFL player, who told ESPN he just wants the messages about Antonio Brown (@AB84) to stop.

Then there's Eric Fisher, a meteorologist (@ericfisher) getting confused with Eric Fisher of the Kansas City Chiefs (@Big_Fish79).

But imagine being Megan Rapino on Twitter. Her account (@meganrapino) rose to fame when President Donald Trump tagged her instead of the correct Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) during this summer's FIFA World Cup.

RIP to her mentions.