ESPN insider extraordinaire Adam Schefter is probably the most prolific reporter in the NFL. He texts and tweets so incessantly, ESPN hired a personal driver for him.
It may want to add a personal editor.
He keeps swinging and missing on big stories. His latest has mysteriously disappeared from ESPN. It was said on “SportsCenter” on Friday, lighting up the internet, and then it vanished.
After Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with a misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution, Schefter went on “SportsCenter” and said, “I’m told that Robert Kraft is not the biggest name involved down there in South Florida, and we will see what police turn up in the report.”
Woah! That’s a biggie!
It is the kind of scoop you would want to tout online, on-air and on every platform.
After saying it, Schefter went silent.
No tweets. No follow-ups. No nothing.
ESPN gave it the silent treatment from TV to dot-com. It was not added to its online news story.
When asked about specifics about what happened, Schefter “politely declined,” through a spokesman. ESPN also declined comment.
There are a lot of problems with Schefter’s story, and it seems apparent ESPN’s editors realized it in the aftermath, which is why they acted as if it didn’t exist.
The first issue with the story is Schefter is leaving all the meat on the bone. If there is a bigger name, then the real story is: Who is it? Go find that out.
A potential reason not to, if you are ESPN, is maybe the name is outside of sports. ESPN and Disney sort of believe in synergy, so instead of tipping off the rest of the media world to go on the hunt, why not pass the tip to ABC News?
By reporting the information without the actual name, Schefter comes across as if he is doing Kraft and/or the NFL a favor by diverting attention. That may not have been his motivation, but it sure feels that way. On Monday, during a press conference, Florida State Attorney Dave Aronberg said Schefter’s report was false.
This has continued a bad trend for Schefter. He may be the best transaction merchant in the whole NFL insider game, but when he steps outside of his signing-and-firing sweet spots the last few months, the results have been uninspiring.
He reported — and ESPN splashed this one everywhere — that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice might interview to be the Browns’ head coach. This was a bombshell, but there was nothing to it.
Schefter did not drill down on the implausible story. After he reported it, the Browns and Rice both completely denied it. And there is no proof Rice was ever considered. It is the kind of misreport that follows you around.
After the Saints-Rams NFC Championship game, Schefter reported that some officials on the controversial interference non-call at the end of regulation were from Los Angeles. He said the league may change how it picks officials for games in the future so there is no perception of bias.
First off, did the officials live in the LA area for years, hoping the Rams would relocate so they would have the chance to do their games and then wait for just the right moment to hatch their plan?
While Schefter said there was no belief the miscall was made on purpose, it is implied and besmirches the officials’ reputations.
Bottom line: If the NFL changes how it picks refs for games in the future, then this is a story. Saying the league might and sullying officials should be beneath Schefter’s and ESPN’s standards. While it is OK to keep score on having every scoop, a reporter’s correct percentage is far more important.
Schefter is one of the best in the NFL news business, and he might even be No. 1. But if he misspeaks on “SportsCenter” — which is another possible explanation for what happened Friday — then he and ESPN need to address it quickly to quell his words as they race around the internet.
Schefter has reached the top because of the credibility of his reports. He should stop messing with his reputation.