So why do we continue to harp on this whole “Jon Gruden took the third day of the draft off” thing? Because our instincts are telling us that there’s far more to the story, and we believe based on what we’ve heard from others that ESPN producer Jay Rothman’s explanation to Richard Deitsch of SI.com is simply not credible, and that Rothman could be trying to conceal the truth.
Thus, the possible attempt to conceal the truth is becoming far more intriguing to us than the fact that Gruden was scheduled to appear on ESPN during the Saturday four-round marathon, and for whatever reason didn’t.
Our skepticism is prompting others to reach out with more details. For example, regarding Rothman’s claim that Gruden’s “voice was gone” at the conclusion of the second day of the draft (Friday), our relatively new friend (we think) Brad Wells (a/k/a BigBlueShoe) of StampedeBlue.com says that he heard Gruden talking normally while they were, um, seeing a man about a horse.
“I probably saw him in the bathroom anywhere from 10:30 [p.m. to] 11:15 [p.m.],” Wells told us via e-mail. “He was talking. His voice sounded like, well, Gruden’s voice. He was talking about some ‘undersized player’ in the restroom. After [leaving the] restroom, he went upstairs and signed autographs. Again, even outside signing autographs, his voice seemed fine.”
And therein lies the primary problem with pushing a story that may not reflect the truth. Rothman’s claim that Gruden’s “voice was gone” easily can be tested, since other people were in a position to hear what Gruden could and couldn’t say by the time the second day of the draft had ended.
In fairness to Rothman, he says that he concluded that Gruden’s “voice was gone” at 12:30 a.m. So it’s possible that Gruden’s voice went from “fine” to “gone” in 75 minutes or so. Typically, however, a voice isn’t instantly “gone.” It begins to fade and the process continues until it is indeed “gone.”
Finally, we’ll admit that we’re continuing to chase this one in large part because Rothman saw fit to accuse us of “irresponsible” reporting, describing our initial story to Deitsch as “garbage” and “ridiculous.” So we didn’t start this one, and it would be irresponsible only if we simply shrugged our shoulders and accepted Rothman’s self-serving account as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.