Piecing together the premature “NFL lockout is back on” story

If you’ve been reading PFT this afternoon and you got a case of whiplash while going from one post saying the lockout is back on and another post saying no ruling has come down, you’re not alone. So I’ll try my best to clear things up.

Early this afternoon, Michael Silver of Yahoo reported that the players were bracing for an appeals court to grant the owners a stay of Judge Susan Nelson’s order ending the lockout, and that the lockout could be back on at any moment.

I had written a post at PFT on Silver’s report and was about to hit the “Publish” button when ESPN interrupted SportsCenter with a “BREAKING NEWS” report saying that the court had granted a temporary stay of the players’ injunction, reinstating the NFL lockout. Because the ESPN scoop would have superseded Silver’s scoop, I hastily re-wrote that post to first provide the “breaking news,” attributed to ESPN, and then provide the background, attributed to Silver.

However, as I kept SportsCenter on, I noticed something strange: Not only was ESPN not giving this major story the wall-to-wall coverage I would have expected, but they weren’t even reporting it anymore. By the time they went back to the NFL lockout story, ESPN was reporting only that the court was expected to decide whether to grant the temporary stay — which isn’t really news.

So what happened? One possibility is that ESPN saw Silver’s report and, in a rush to get on the air with the news, misunderstood what Silver was reporting. ESPN never attributed anything to Silver, but he was the first to report that the players were expecting the owners to win their temporary stay, and all the stories that have come out today have followed Silver’s reporting.

Another possibility is that ESPN saw a notice from the appeals court and misunderstood it. Today the court put out a notice on the case that included a statement saying, “appellants’ motion for stay is hereby granted.” That notice was referring only to a motion to file a brief, not the motion to stay Judge Susan Nelson’s order ending the lockout, but it’s easy to see how someone could misread it in the rush to get the news out.

To be clear, the appeals court hasn’t issued anything yet to indicate one way or the other whether the lockout is on or off through this weekend. But Michael Gans, Clerk of Court for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, told Will Brinson of CBSSports.com that ESPN should be “penalized for a false start.”

25 responses to “Piecing together the premature “NFL lockout is back on” story

  1. “One possibility is that ESPN saw Silver’s report and, in a rush to get on the air with the news, misunderstood what Silver was reporting. ESPN never attributed anything to Silver”

    I choose to beleive this theory. God forbid anyone out scoop them. they always pull this garbage.

    they did not get the scoop and instead they screwed the pooch.

  2. What is Clayton supposed to be a professor of? Queefs? I love that he has a ponytail and that he always hides it from the cameras.

  3. Anybody that posted ESPN’s story should also be “penalized for a false start.” Obviously PFT wasn’t able to confirm the story either, yet the post was still on the site. Sounds like bad reporting all the way around.

  4. It’s a lock we are going to get 3-5 more articles explaining this, and specifically highlighting the fact that it’s all ESPNs fault that PFT reported erroneous information.

    No big deal guys…just one update is fine. It’s the age of new media and folks jump the gun. No big deal.

  5. rew1572 says: Apr 29, 2011 3:43 PM

    In other news, Terry Bradshaw died.


    I heard another rumor that the Vikings took Christian Ponder with the 12th pick but I did not find it to be credible.

  6. U.S. Court of Appeals clerks do not leak. Nor do the judges. There’s no way anybody’s going to know until it’s actually announced.

  7. Ummm, The National Enquirer has never been successfully sued…at least that’s what I have read…so maybe you should try something like FOX????



    Ponder to be released to free agency with Favre returning due to realizing he might have the same accuracy skill as Ponder.

    And this was the reason Vikings drafted a qb to lure Favre back.

    Michael Silver of Yahoo reported.

  10. The way news, sports and information are gathered and disseminated has become a giant pile of crap. TMZ is a credible source? Yahoo.com is a credible source? The National freaking Enquirer is a credible source?

  11. the players should just start their own league. there’s plenty of investors and tv networks that would pick up the tab.

  12. I don’t think the NFL would want a stay announced on Friday afternoon in the middle of the draft.
    They took some heat last night, it would go up a few notches tonight if they did.

  13. Question for all of you experts out there. If there is no union and a player has a contract with a club then why all of the talk about a strike? If there is no union then how can they bargain for the players? Just wondering.

  14. Even if they could, and the court ruled that the owners lockout would be back, the owners would be crazy if they locked the players out AGAIN after opening the doors. But wait……the Jerridiots (Jones & Richardson) are batpoop crazy so they just might.

    Oh man!

    I feel bad for the Commish. I think he really cares in his heart about the game but he’s working for the the Jerridiots. They got one thing they care about MONEY. Not the fans and really, really not the players.

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