More are noticing the breaking news quid pro quo

Earlier this week, I mentioned here and on PFT Live and on Pat McAfee’s show the uniquely bizarre willingness of reporters to spread some false information in the name of having some accurate information. It's a quid pro quo that makes the breaking-news world go 'round.

At the simplest level, reporters who are told about new contracts by agents pass along incorrect information about the new deals without asking questions. If they ask questions, they either forfeit the thumb race to X to a reporter who doesn't tap the breaks — or they get omitted from the group text altogether.

There are other ways that mutual back-scratching happens. As noticed by Ben Axelrod of, reporters also will praise agents in the hopes of keeping the news pump primed. Two reporters from NFL Network used the same term in reference to agent Steve Caric when breaking the news of contracts for tight end Zach Ertz and Dalton Schultz: "TE guru."

For reporters who cozy up to agents for breaking news and/or accept a paycheck from the league and/or one of its teams, the job requires certain things to be done, and not to be done. That's why some reporters will post things aimed at making an agent look good and/or things aimed at helping a player not look bad.

It's all about maintaining the relationships necessary to break news that is about to be announced anyway. Giving reporters that information is the commodity that gets them to publish exaggerated, embellished, and/or fabricated financial information to their audience and/or that gets them to make gratuitous statements of praise that then can be used in recruiting.

That's why, as Jay Glazer told me years ago, the only real journalism in this space is finding out things they don't want us to know. When someone is going to sign a contract or get traded to get released or retire or whatever, it's not a big deal to be the one who is hand picked, for whatever reason, to tell the world about news that is to be announced anyway.

It's a simple device used to secure new favors or reward past ones — up to and including the unwillingness of reporters to pursue information that agents, players, and/or teams don't want us to know.