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Doug Farrar

Pacman Jones, and the (further) value of information

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The recent LeGarrette Blount pro day fiasco should have taught us all a thing or two about jumping to conclusions when players, no matter how troubled they may be, no-show for important workouts that affect their future. It does not appear to be so.

Rogue cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, who was last seen failing to grab a roster spot with the Cincinnati Bengals, was supposed to be at a private workout in New Orleans today for a number of NFL teams. But, as James Varney of the New Orleans Times-Picayune first reported (hit that link quickly, before it gets pulled!), Pacman wound up blowing off the audition - yes, he was a no-show at his own workout.

There's only one problem with the story - it wasn't true. Not a bit of it.

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk first reported via Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network, the workout went off as planned on Friday afternoon. "He's running the 40 right now and just did an interview with the camera crew we have there," La Canfora told Florio via email. The San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions are reported to have the most interest in Jones.

The problem seemed to be that the workout didn't happen at Tulane Stadium, which is where Varney was. Like the Blount story, the news that Pacman blew off his shot at a return to the NFL grew legs and flew all over the intrawebz until the La Canfora's report cleared everything up. It's not surprising that people would assume Jones' serial irresponsibly - after all, he's proven that trait more than once - but now it's Varney and anyone who went with his story who walk away with egg on their faces. Especially so soon after so many people got the Blount story wrong.

Of course, when it comes time to place blame for this mistake, it'll be a bit tougher to do - Varney is a newspaper reporter, not a blogger, which means that the automatic assumption of sub-journalistic motivation won't carry as much weight. After all, it's only bloggers who do things like show up at the wrong place and report something without confirmation, right?

No matter what happens with Pacman Jones and LeGarrette Blount, we in the media need to take lessons from these misadventures. I wrote a story for Shutdown Corner on Blount missing his pro day, and had to pull it about two minutes after it went up and the truth finally came out: Blount had never intended to work out on the 11th - it was always going to be on Oregon's second pro day, on the 18th. I'm not proud of that; it's only fair that I'm honest about it.

With the Jones story, I waited before publishing, searched around, found the Florio correction, and avoided any further embarrassment. Why? Because I had been smacked upside the head with a simple truth - no matter how obvious you think a story may be, the version you're putting up could be completely off base if you're publishing too quickly. And when the need to be first outweighs the need to be right, we've all got problems. We who bring the news, and you who trust us to do so.

On the surface, these are two botched player workout stories. Shame on us if we don't take more away from them than that.

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