Question of whether Woody Johnson, Robert Saleh had "very heated conversation" becomes very hot topic

It's one thing for NFL Media, owned in equal parts by all 32 teams, to monger a rumor about the owner of one of those teams. It's quite another for the rumor to end up being wrong.

That's the next question, as it relates to the claim made by Colleen Wolfe on the Around the NFL podcast that a "very heated conversation" occurred between Jets owner Woody Johnson and Jets coach Robert Saleh at the league meetings in Orlando.

It's not clear at this point whether the report is factually accurate. The Jets, we're told, strongly believe it is not. (We've asked the team for an official comment.) To the extent, however, that some are pointing to an X post from Connor Hughes of as the definitive word on the matter, that's not the smoking gun you think it is.

Here’s the Hughes post: "There was no verbal argument between Robert Saleh and Woody Johnson at the NFL’s annual meeting reception. I know because I was at the party where this apparently happened, feet from Saleh & Johnson, before Johnson & Jets contingent left. Woody took them out to dinner. Checked in with a two sources at the dinner. Confirmed nothing happened there, either."

The threshold problem is that Wolfe, while initially saying that the "very heated conversation" happened at the Monday night reception, later said in the same clip that it happened on Sunday. Thus, to the extent Hughes is referring to the Monday night reception (the context of his post and other related posts makes it clear that he was), he's got the wrong day.

Second, I've been at the Monday night event. Multiple times. It's impossible to have eyes on the same two people the entire time. There are too many people and too much activity. Unless you park yourself next to them from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave, no one can conclusively say they saw everything that did, and didn't, transpire between them during the party.

We initially covered this story as a rare if not unprecedented example of NFL Media, owned and operated by the NFL and its teams, deliberately, casually, and almost gleefully jumping on the third rail. Whether a "very heated conversation" between Johnson and Saleh happened isn't the issue. The issue that the media company Johnson owns in equal measure was the one to report the story.

Watch the clip. This isn't an example of a reporter at NFL Network embracing an in-depth journalistic project on a subject the league finds sensitive, like off-field owner misconduct or the issues for which Jim Trotter believes he was fired. (Sorry, his contract was not renewed. Which is a fancier way of saying he was fired, because he was.) This had a gossipy, jokey, almost game-show-y vibe to it.

The Jets aren't happy about it. Especially since they believe the claim is incorrect. Again, we've asked the Jets for an official comment. Until then, the Hughes post on X should not be treated as dispositive, especially if (as it seems) he's talking about something that happened on Monday, because the claim from NFL Media is that it happened on Sunday.

If it even happened at all.