The sports media has never been perfect -- any regular reader of sports blogs has undoubtedly come across a blogger slamming a personality on ESPN, taking apart an opinion piece by a commentator for one of the major sports websites, or questioning the credibility of a certain reporter.
But I've never seen so much incompetent journalism, such disregard for industry ethics, and so much false information being produced by media outlets as I have during the Brett Favre saga.
Rich Schwartz of Yahoo! Sports reported in May that Favre would stay retired -- a report that was fishy at the time and has now been revealed as downright wrong. Shooter reported about a month ago that Favre was preparing to undergo surgery -- that report was directly contradicted less than 24 hours later by Ed Werder, and we still don't really know who was right. In early May, Zulgad and Scoggins reported that Childress had hopped on a flight to Hattiesburg to meet with Favre -- but that never happened. Peter King told us on Memorial Day that the Vikings wanted a decision from Favre before June 1st -- whoops, wrong again. And finally, Werder and Chris Mortensen reported on Monday that a deadline of this week had been imposed on Favre by Childress -- a report Chilly called "not even close."
How the hell is the media getting away with this? More after the jump...
Of all the downright irresponsible reporting that has characterized the media's coverage of Favregeddon, the latest reports by Werder and Mortensen take the cake. Folks, there was never any deadline imposed on Favre, and I'm thrilled Pat Kirwan called out ESPN as having 'made up' that report. Werder and Mortensen were 100% wrong, and the way they tried to cover-up their irresponsible journalism is downright shameless.
I'm talking about their latest report of the Vikings "temporarily suspending" the pursuit of Favre because the quarterback didn't show up at the OTAs. People with a good bullsh*t detector undoubtedly raised their eyebrows at this news, which is little more than a sorry attempt to avoid embarrassment for the irresponsible deadline report.
Simply put, there's no good reason for the Vikings to ask Favre to attend the OTAs WHEN HE ISN'T EVEN UNDER CONTRACT YET. Not to mention the irrationality of imposing a deadline on him WHEN HE'S RECOVERING FROM SURGERY. Ultimately, then, I'm left to conclude that Werder and Mortensen are simply attempting to cover their asses. They will avoid embarrassment when Favre isn't in purple by the end of the week, but they'll still look correct if he signs later in the month or in July. Frankly, they're two of the most shameless sports reporters I've ever seen.
ESPN looks absolutely terrible now, because thankfully, people are seeing right through this sorry attempt by Werder and Mortensen to avoid humiliation. Those two are the victims of an ultra-competitive sports media industry in which you've gotta do what it takes to break the story, to be the first to the punch.
But really, does it matter who's first to the punch? Do you remember who broke the news of the Jared Allen trade, the Randy Moss trade, the firing of Mike Tice, the hiring of Brad Childress? I sure as hell don't. Would we really prefer a do-whatever-it-takes media climate in which reporters relentlessly push to be the first to break stories, or would we prefer a responsible sports media that values getting it right and building trust with its readers?
No, the Vikings never imposed a deadline on Brett Favre, and no, they probably haven't "suspended" any pursuit of him, either. I don't trust a word coming out of ESPN, SI, or anyone else. In fact, I doubt anything's changed recently in Favregeddon aside from the surgery Favre apparently underwent in May. That seems to be one of the few aspects of this saga that hasn't been contradicted in the media, so it's safe to assume he had the operation.
And that makes me wonder: What exactly did we accomplish in the last two days? Well, nothing really -- we were led on a wild goose chase. That's certainly made me a more critical consumer of sports media -- I knew full well about all the false Favre reports that had been run in the media prior to this week, but to change attitudes about how we deal with the media, it takes truly incompetent reporting . Werder and Mortensen provided just that.
Sports talk radio host 'The Groz' of 950 KJR in Seattle referenced this post in a great rant: