11/14/2014 10:04 EST | Updated 01/14/2015 05:59 EST

Patriots apologize after tweeting racial slur

The New England Patriots apologized Thursday night after accidentally tweeting a racial slur from their account. 

The offensive tweet made it on to the Patriots Twitter account through a promotion to thank the one million people who helped them become the first NFL team to reach that many followers. 

The Patriots had promised to tweet out "digital custom jerseys" for anyone who retweeted the following message:

- Can't view on mobile? See tweet here. 

Some fairly ridiculous Twitter handles managed to get through the filtering system, but one follower in particular definitely should not have received a "thank you" from the team.

With their automated response system, the Patriots inadvertently thanked a follower whose Twitter handle was "I hate (n-word)."

The tweet was taken down, but not before going viral. They responded by apologizing on twitter for the auto-tweet going through. 

- Can't view on mobile? See tweet here.