Broken Breaking News: The Adam Project

by JoeYancey

How many passes does Adam Schefter get? Is Adam’s skill set something that cannot be found elsewhere? Maybe he is irreplaceable. What do you think Beyonce? In an age where cancel culture is rampant, is this anti-cancel culture at work? Surely ESPN can find others to fill the role. Adam is essentially a walking cellphone with unreliable and spotty service.

The title NFL “Insider” is scary. One that gives the illusion of power, and by design requires information that outsiders do not have; which may encourage one to assume things, take a piece and make a puzzle without confirming the other pieces even exist. This could give one the delusion of power, and at times, feel above judgement. For the many mistakes Adam Schefter has made recently, specifically since the pandemic started, an era where more people are online than ever, (his biggest audience) you would think his behavior would improve.

Since Adam is the “Insider” he has to be first. The desire to be first is prioritized over responsible journalism. I struggle to think of a profession where you can regularly screw up and suffer no consequences. Apologies for constant mistakes are hollow and meaningless. Repeated actions are behaviors.

How tone deaf must you be to tweet this? Its like Adam Schefter’s Twitter is Deshaun Watson’s burner account. For a man working in a male-dominated industry (sports journalism) covering an even more male-dominated industry (The National Football League) how do you not understand the severity of this? How does this tone exist? Even worse, a half-hearted, failed attempt to apologize and explain? It somehow gets worse – as I write this twenty-four hours later, the tweet is still up. Everyone has now seen your public “apology,” you may delete this now, Adam.

Broken Breaking News

How does this happen? The need to be first supersedes the very basic obligation to responsible and professional journalism. If this was the first instance of sloppy, dumb reporting, we could look the other way. It’s not.

Broken Breaking News

Exhibit A: On April 21, 2021, which just so happened to be NFL Draft Day, Adam Schefter broke the news that Aaron Rodgers was done with the Green Bay Packers. Aaron was so done that he went on to win the NFL MVP again, with… you guessed it, the Green Bay Packers. Two weeks later, Dan Patrick discussed this with Adam Schefter. Dan: “Walk me through that, did you get a phone call or a text?” Dan poses the question in a way like he already knows the answer; which is that Schefter received neither. Adam of course, dodges the question. Notice the lack of fact and the nervous coffee drinking. That boy is drinking hot coffee like its a cold slushy. There is no coffee in there. That’s what we call a nervous kit. If this was an episode of A&E’s First 48, they would be behind the glass trying to find legal ways to search his home and capture his DNA. Schefter says “I can assure you” an awful lot for a guy who has no clue what he’s talking about. Interesting tactic.


Exhibit B: In 2011 Adam Schefter decided to share an entire article with Washington Football Team President, Bruce Allen prior to publish, and referred to him as “Mr. Editor,” giving him free rein to edit as he pleases. Sharing quotes and/or soundbites to verify authenticity of a person, statement, source, or event is one thing. Sending an entire article to “Mr. Editor” is insane. This completely flies in the face of independent reporting and ethical journalism.


Exhibit C: In 1999, Adam’s early days were spent in Denver, in which he spent a lot of time with the Denver Broncos. I cannot do the story justice in it’s entirety, at least not the way Westword’s Michael Roberts did, so I will summarize, paraphrase, and ask that you read his detailed story here: (https://www.westword.com/news/adam-schefter-espn-controversy-denver-journalistic-sins-12563244) In short, Schefter co-authored two books involving Broncos Head Coach, Mike Shanahan and Running Back, Terrell Davis, as he was on the beat for the Broncos with the Denver Post; using those close, developed relationships for personal, monetary gain as opposed to just reporting the news, creating a conflict of interest. Adam eventually left The Rocky Mountain News for the Denver Post so he could continue to pursue the book.

Barry Forbis, editor of The Rocky Mountain News would never sign off on Schefter writing books about players he was covering on the beat, leading Schefter into the arms of The Denver Post

Exhibit D: On November 9, 2021, Adam Schefter with more breaking news! He once again gets all of the talking heads talking. He very adamantly claimed Dalvin Cook “is the victim of domestic abuse.” Literally, verbatim. Not “it appears Dalvin Cook is a victim of domestic abuse.” or “Per Dalvin Cook…” “Statement from Dalvin Cook…” “Sources say Dalvin Cook…” Nope. He is thoroughly convinced he already has all of the answers.

Broken Breaking News

The initial tweet concrete in it’s delivery, but then, the next day, on 11/10/2021, without any context or explanation – Schefter tweets about “dual accusations.” Two days later Schefter admitted he had not spoken with anyone on the originally accused side, Graceyln Trimble. Trimble’s attorney, Daniel Cragg accused Adam Schefter of “journalistic malpractice.” The pending litigation was a suit against Dalvin Cook, not the other way around, as it was reported by Adam Schefter. In an effort to be first, Schefter, as is his nature – tosses due diligence out the window, and we end up here again. Followed by another apology.

Poor cleanup attempt
Adam Schefter’s statement on Sportscenter

Exhibit (have we run out of letters?) Adam Schefter’s investment in Boom Entertainment. A company that creates gambling websites, applications and other technology for online casinos to sportsbooks has drawn some attention. This week, the Atlanta Falcons suspended Calvin Ridley for his participation in gambling, and while ESPN may not have those same restrictions in their employee handbook or code of conduct, this seems like a sticky spot. Few people can move betting lines by breaking team, injury and personal news like Adam Schefter. There may be a conflict here. This is not to say his investment is wrong or against the rules, but just another reason for ESPN to evaluate the relationship.

Exhibit 13: 1/29/2022: Though not nearly as controversial given the end result, since the tweet ultimately prevailed true, reporting Tom Brady’s retirement is once again, a need to be first. When non-Brady fans are hoping his retirement is untrue so Schefter can have egg on his face, we have issues. While this one is not all him, Adam moving very quickly on Jeff Darlington’s speculation, essentially making it fact, meant he was committed to it, no matter what Tom Brady decided.

Broken Breaking News

What’s difficult to understand is why ESPN has continued to tolerate this. It has become a regular occurrence for Adam to pull his pants up before wiping. And we are all supposed to pretend he doesn’t have poop in his drawers. This speaks volumes to where Adam is at in his career. Reporters on the back half of their popularity are never this lucky. Many ESPN-employed reporters have been moved, demoted and terminated for conduct less than becoming. How hard would it be for Adam Schefter to do standard fact-checking and due diligence prior to breaking news? I can only assume he fears losing his edge, and being second. ESPN has been hemorrhaging fans for years. Maybe this is why the network is looking the other way, and tolerating his mounting flaws.

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