Friday, October 24, 2008

Let's Keep Score

Not sure if you are aware about the ongoing spat taking place between ESPN, Peter King, Chris Mortenson, Jay Glazer, and Brett Favre but I figured I'd enlighten. See I feel obligated to follow this stuff because I one day aspire to be in such spats.

Last weekend Glazer broke the story about Brett Favre helped out the Lions giving game secrets about his former team, the Packers. In his Monday morning quarterback said he texted Favre about this report and got a response along the lines of "That story was total bullshit."

Then, ESPN decided to shove it in Glazer's face, even though the guy has broken a ton of stories in the past year (Strahan retiring, the Joey Porter Vegas fight are the first that come to mind). This is a memo they sent out:

Under the heading “DO NOT REPORT . . . DO NOT REPORT . . . . DO NOT REPORT . . . DO NOT REPORT” (um, we get the point) appears the following:

“Yesterday, FoxSports reported that Brett Favre spent 60 to 90 minutes before the Week Two game between the Lions and the Packers educating the Detroit coaching staff regarding the Packers’ offensive strategies. WE HAVE BEEN TOLD BY RELIABLE SOURCES THIS REPORT IS NOT TRUE. We did NOT report it yesterday. Today, the NFL responded to the report, saying even if Favre did this he did not break any league rules. We are NOT reporting it today, because that would mean airing the erroneous report. DO NOT REPORT IT.”

Then Chris Mortenson of ESPN went on some radio show and went on about how there needs to be fact checkers so these types of stories don't come out even though Glazer said he stands by his story "1000 percent". What probably fumed Glazer so much was that while he responsibly breaks stories (for the most part) the man they call Mort has been dead wrong about several stories in just the past year. For fun, let's quote some from some of Mort's "scoops". These were all found in real stories:

1) "ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is unlikely to be indicted in the ongoing investigation that began when law enforcement found evidence of dog fighting on property he owns."

2) "While Norv Turner remains the leading candidate to be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Wednesday that another candidate has emerged: Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera." So read on Feb. 1, 2007. A few days later, after Wade Phillips got the Boys post, Mort said on the air that he had always known the job would go to Phillips."

3) "After Week 1, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Giants quarterback Eli Manning would miss a month. He stuck with the report even after the Giants denied it. Manning has started every game."

4)" Bill Parcells said Wednesday that he likely will accept the Atlanta Falcons' offer to become the team's vice president of football operations." OR SO WROTE CHRIS MORTENSON!

Because of all this, Jay Glazer came up with a novel idea.

If they want to talk about credibility, let’s keep score, starting from Week One of last year, and see who broke what, who was right and who was wrong. I don’t think they’d want that.”

And now, a blog is going ahead and doing just that. The names they've got so far are Jay Glazer of FOX, Chris Mortensen of ESPN, Adam Schefter of NFLN, Peter King of too many media outlets to list, John Clayton of ESPN, Alex Marvez of FOX, Michael Smith of ESPN, Michael Silver of Yahoo!, Jason Cole of Yahoo!, Charley Casserly of CBS.

I'm excited, I don't know about you. It's about time some of these guys had a measure of credibility considering they judge athletes on a daily basis. It's time to have some accountability for all these flying rumors going around.

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