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Moron Alert: Another Fake Scandal

December 17, 2007

These guys don’t learn.

Remember a few weeks back when played up a report that Al Harris might have been seeking to collect a “bounty” by taking out Adrian Peterson? It was a sensational story, hyped by the rumor-mill that is PFT and for a moment it looked like it might be huge news. (For those of you not familiar with their “work,” PFT is like the Drudge Report of the NFL, only Drudge is a great site and rarely gets things wrong. PFT is read religiously by NFL beat writers, executives, agents and even players.) In this case, as in many others, the PFT guys had no clue what they were talking about. It turns out Harris would have been the one paying the incentive for keeping AP under 100 yards. (Despite the irresponsible suggestions from PFT, there never was a “bounty,” in the sense that Packers were out to injure Peterson or anyone else.)

We posted on the subject several times and emailed PFT with a chance to explain, retract and/or apologize. They did nothing. Maybe they were just too busy.

Last week, the hacks at PFT suggested that ESPN’s Mike Golic, a former football player who has admitted using steroids, had been taken off the air because the network didn’t want him discussing the Mitchell Report on steriods in baseball. They wrote:


Isn’t it odd that Mike Golic has been MIA the past couple of days from his radio show on ESPN? With the sports news dominated by the “Mitchell Report” regarding steroid use in baseball, shouldn’t Golic be there to offer up his views on the content of the report (assuming he can read) and the consequences of the revelations regarding the extent to which baseball players were using steroids?

Well, yeah, if Golic wasn’t an admitted steroid user himself.And absent a full explanation as to Golic’s whereabouts, offered up at the top of the return from every break, we think it’s fair to assume that Golic was given a couple of days off without pay so that he wouldn’t have to comment on the propriety of something that he himself has done. 

Only it wasn’t fair to assume that at all. Golic was absent because of a death in the family, news that had to be unbelievably embarrassing to PFT. If I had made a similar accusation — without a shred of evidence, mind you — I would make a full and unambiguous apology and beg my readers not to abandon me in spite of my tasteless and irresponsible behavior. What did PFT do? They blamed ESPN. I am serious.

It’s worth reading the whole thing.


As it turns out, ESPN’s Mike Golic missed last week not because he was ducking discussion regarding the Mitchell report, but because of a death in his family.

We extend our condolences to Golic, and to his family.

All that said, his employer did the guy a major disservice by not making it known that Golic was absent due to a personal family issue. By not addressing Golic’s absence on a regular basis (it would have taken all of three seconds), ESPN allowed many to unnecessarily speculate that Golic didn’t want to talk about steroids in baseball given his admission last month that he used steroids in 1987.

Even if everyone who thought that Golic was absent because he didn’t want to talk about steroids eventually learns the truth, nothing can change the fact that they were under the impression for several days that he might have been looking for a way to not have to talk about his use of the juice. 

What a crock of shit. (Sorry, Mom.)

ESPN “allowed many to unnecessarily speculate?” Are they serious? Who was this “many” they are talking about? Anyone who didn’t first read such speculation at PFT?

These guys are irresponsible hacks. The only remaining question is why the NFL Network — an arm of the NFL itself — would continue to sponsor the site.

Still Silent at

November 20, 2007

As of 4PM (EST) Tuesday, has not updated its story from yesterday on the Packer “bounty” non-scandal. We sent this email:

Are you guys going to update the post below, as your “stay tuned” coda suggests? We’re particularly interested in the line in which you erroneously, and in our view irresponsibly, suggest that Adrian Peterson’s injury might have come as a result of these alleged financial incentives between Packer teammates. “But to the extent that limiting a player’s production can be satisfied in part by, for example,
tearing the player’s LCL, it’s probably not a good idea for incentives of this nature to be dangled in
front of NFL players.”

As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Greg Bedard has pointed out, the incentives were to have been paid
from defensive backs to defensive lineman. Cornerback Al Harris is the one who hit Peterson on the play in
question. Therefore, if the motive was in fact financial — a silly proposition given that the $500
total is a rounding error for Harris and his accountants — Harris would have had incentive NOT to
tackle Peterson.

We’ll be happy to post your answer for our very interested readers at

A quick note on why we’re pursuing this. First, the original story zipped around the internet and even made traditional news websites like ESPN and CNN. The use of the word “bounty” in the context of prohibited (but relatively harmless) side wagers between teammates, has led to irresponsible conjecture about motives of Packer players — speculation like that found at PFT.

For those of you not famililar with the site, is a very powerful blog covering the NFL. NFL beat writers check in several times a day to see what rumors and gossip are floating around locker rooms and board rooms across the league. How powerful? The league’s television network, NFL Network, advertises on the website. The PFT guys are often very funny and almost always very irreverent. And to their credit, the PFT guys call the newsy part of their website the “rumor mill” and poke fun of themselves as “internet hacks.”

But sometimes they try to make scandals out of nothing. (See their string about Shawne Merriman yesterday for another example.) And when someone who is forced to answer questions first raised on PFT (as Colts President Bill Polian had to do recently) refers obliquely to disreputable websites, they object strenuously. As with many blogs, when they’re good, they’re very good. But when they’re bad, they’re awful. And this is clearly a case of the latter.

A Deafening Silence…

November 19, 2007

Although they promised an update after suggesting this morning that a side-wager between Packer players may be the reason Adrian Peterson was injured last week, the guys at have gone silent. They’re liveblogging the game tonight but haven’t seen fit to mention the non-controversy or explain their obviously flawed reasoning on the issue. We’ve posted on it here and here.

Also, as far as we know, PFT never commented on this story from the New York Daily News, here.

The secret to the Giants’ devastating pass rush this season isn’t new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s blitz schemes or an improved secondary. It is actually a pool in which each defensive end contributes money based on his salary, with the winner taking home the loot based on his production.
The pool has all the defensive ends talking trash and desperately trying to top one another in stats. So far, Osi Umenyiora is running away with the money.

And if the NFL “investigated,” as they are reportedly doing in this case, they did so very quietly. Is there a double-standard at work? Attempts to Manufacture a Scandal (Continued)

November 19, 2007

Another very smart post by Greg Bedard here.

Nothing is more irksome than living room know-it-alls who obsess about the NFL (or their teams) offering their unqualified observations to fill the dead time between games. Wait…

Seriously, Bedard is exactly right. The whole thing is a non-issue. The only thing that makes it remotely interesting is the suggestion that the Packers may have injured the NFL rushing leader and sure-thing Rookie of the Year as a result of a “bounty” on him. It’s nonsense, of course, but precisely the kind of thing that gives eats up the airtime the talking heads programs are so desperate to fill. How many times can they show Tom Brady throwing four touchdowns to Randy Moss? It’s just not a dynamic story. Much better for the professional gabbers to weigh in on things for which information is scarce and speculation drives the story. In this case, the PFT guys wrote: “To the extent that limiting a player’s production can be satisfied in part by, for example, tearing the player’s LCL, it’s probably not a good idea for incentives of this nature to be dangled in front of NFL players.” But as Greg Bedard pointed out: Al Harris made the tackle responsible for knocking Peterson out of the game, a hit that would have resulted in him PAYING off the bet, not collecting on it. So even if the incentive were financial — preposterous given that Harris, who makes $5,232,000, would have collected $500 — their “reasoning” doesn’t work.

Although hinted that an update was coming, they have not yet amended or expanded their 11:55 AM post in which they suggest that the existence of friendly wagers between Packers may have been responsible for Adrian Peterson’s injury. As someone might say, stay tuned.

UPDATE: No matter how wrong the guys at are about yesterday’s game — were they smoking crack with my brother? — they’re exactly right on this. Nice, to have you guys back.

UPDATE II: Here is the ESPN story on all of this. They broke the story yesterday AM.

UPDATE III: Thompson speaks.

An Irresponsible Suggestion from

November 19, 2007

Lots of discussion at the Journal-Sentinel’s Packer blog about a report from ESPN yesterday morning that has been hyped by the guys at

Here is the PFT post from just before noon.


NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells us that the league is looking into the question of whether members of the Green Bay Packers have violated the league’s rules against bounties.

On Sunday, Bob Holtzmann of ESPN reported during Sunday NFL Countdown that a couple of Packers defensive backs had promised to pay each of the team’s defensive linemen $500 if there were able to hold Vikings running back Adrian Peterson under 100 yards rushing in Week Ten.

They succeeded.

For Week Eleven, another $500 per lineman was promised if the Packers held the Panthers to under 60 yards rushing.

They failed.

We asked Aiello whether these extra payments counted against the salary cap, given that they were coming from teammates and not from the team. Aiello said that it’s not a cap issue, but he explained that the league is looking at whether such promises are impermissible bounties.

The classic bounty is an offer of money or other benefits in exchange for injuring a player. But to the extent that limiting a player’s production can be satisfied in part by, for example, tearing the player’s LCL, it’s probably not a good idea for incentives of this nature to be dangled in front of NFL players.

Stay tuned.

It’s a post that is sadly typical of the stuff at Great newsy nuggets layered with irresponsible speculation. I’m talking specifically about this line. “But to the extent that limiting a player’s production can be satisfied in part by, for example, tearing the player’s LCL, it’s probably not a good idea for incentives of this nature to be dangled in front of NFL players.”

The implication is obvious: Al Harris may have taken out Adrian Peterson at the knees to keep Peterson under 100 yards. Of course, as Greg Bedard smartly points out, doing so would have meant that Harris PAID the bounties, not collected them. Ah, details, details. It’ll be interesting to see if the guys at have the cojones to report on their own website that their reasoning on the Peterson injury was exactly backwards. Stay tuned, as someone might say.

If the league prohibits player-to-player bonuses, as it seems to, and Packer players did this, it was wrong. The league is looking into the allegations and should punish the offenders. That said, it seems like an incredibly minor offense. When you’re talking about a payout of $500, thatt hardly seems consequential. It’s a rounding error for one of Al Harris’s accountants and certainly not the kind of money that would cause a professional football player to attempt to injure an opponent. To make such a suggestion is ridiculous.