The sports world was turned upside down this past weekend when a well known and highly credible sports reporter took to social media to announce that Tom Brady will retire. The reporter, Adam Schefter of ESPN, sent the internet on fire as tributes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback poured in, with even Brady’s own company TB12 posting their own video montage. The only problem was the story wasn’t true, or at least is premature since Brady and his agent announced an hour later no decision on the quarterback’s future has been reached. So, ESPN and all other sports media outlets: When will you hold your reporters accountable for their mistakes?
Tom Brady is retiring from football after 22 extraordinary seasons, multiple sources tell @JeffDarlington and me.
More coming on https://t.co/rDZaVFhcDQ. pic.twitter.com/6CHWmMlyXg
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 29, 2022
The speculation about Tom Brady’s future started right before Tampa Bay took to the field against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. It was being reported then that the 22-year veteran could be playing in his last game if the Buccaneers lost, something Brady refused to address after the game when asked by reporters. In the days after the defeat, Tampa Bay fans have taken to asking Brady’s wife, world famous supermodel Gisele Bündchen to play in 2022, with many feeling the QB made a promise to his wife to retire after this season. Of course, this means that the probability of Brady retiring has gone up this year, but is not a certainty … unless you are Adam Schefter, who stuck by his report Sunday morning despite acknowledging Brady, his family and agent have all said no retirement decision has been reached.
To that I say this: If Tom Brady doesn’t retire, ESPN needs to fire Adam Schefter or don’t expect me to take anything he or anyone else reports seriously.
The sports world has seen a decline it their professional standards over the last generation, with social media allowing people to post speculation, report it as fact, and never be held accountable when they are wrong. And truth be told, there are jobs and millions of dollars riding on the decisions to be made during this NFL offseason by people like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, with each holding the short-term futures of their current employers in their hands. That means to recklessly put a report about someone’s retirement on social media, have it put on ice by the person you are talking about, and then double down on that story the next day is nothing more than ego. Adam Schefter wants to say he was the first reporter to say Tom Brady was retiring, even though by all accounts a decision has not been made. Of course, if Brady comes back and plays in 2022 at the age of 45 as he talked about doing for years, there will be zero consequences for Schefter.
This isn’t the first time Adam Schefter has crossed the line when trying to break a story or that ESPN has let him get away with doing so. Remember, this is the same person who didn’t have any issues with posting a player’s medical records on social media, and yet ESPN did nothing. When will sports reporters be held responsible for their mistakes? And what will it take for ESPN to start letting people go that make huge mistakes like Adam Schefter has done on more than one occasion? Because if ESPN is willing to turn a blind eye to these types of mistakes, you can’t blame anyone else in the industry for doing the same thing. After all, how many likes and reposts did Schefter’s report get on Saturday afternoon, and in today’s social media world, isn’t that all that matters?
As long as Adam Schefter doesn’t do a victory lap if Tom Brady doesn’t retire or if he goes on the air and admits he was wrong if Brady decides to play in 2022, then he can keep his job. However, if the ESPN talking head tries even once to tell anyone he broke a story that may not happen for over a month, then ESPN should fire him in disgrace and disavow what he did as a warning to reporters who try to do the same thing in the future.
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