I’ll freely admit that I’ve struggled with this one. On one hand, I’m trying to be less of an asshole. (It’s a struggle.) On the other hand, the 21st anniversary of the launch of PFT is coming on Tuesday. The site has survived and thrived in part because I’ve been willing to write what needs to be written, even if it makes some people a little miffed.
Here’s something that didn’t need to be written by ESPN.com today: “Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay have not had any contact since Irsay made pointed comments about Snyder at the league meetings earlier this month, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.”
That was the headline of the article, a day after Irsay once again teed off on Snyder, this time expanding the attack to include the league’s handling of the Commanders owner. And the Commanders responded by publicly accusing Irsay of repeatedly violating the NFL’s Constitution by publicly criticizing Snyder.
But it wasn’t good enough for ESPN to focus a story on the interview with Irsay, or the aggressive comment from the Commanders, published on Saturday by the Washington Post. ESPN felt compelled to add something to the story, even if what was added was, well, nothing at all.
The question of whether Irsay and Snyder have exchanged phone calls or emails or text messages is relevant only if the answer is “yes.” There’s no significance whatsoever to the fact that they haven’t communicated.
It’s OK for a media outlet to have nothing new. It’s OK to credit the work of others, and to make the most significant aspects of that work the centerpiece of a story.
Not everyone feels the same way, obviously. ESPN believed it had to advance its own reputation as the worldwide whatever by interjecting a stray new fact that the Post didn’t have.
Then again, the Post technically had it. It was implicit in the story. Obviously, if there had been any communication between Irsay and Snyder in the past 12 days, Irsay would have said so to the Post, and it would have been mentioned in the article.
I’ve got no problem with Sunday Splash! reports. But to truly be a splash, there needs to be something more than a pebble thrown into the pool. And it also would help to have some water in there, too. In this specific case, there was neither.
To no surprise, Jim Irsay and Daniel Snyder haven’t spoken recently originally appeared on Pro Football Talk