Monday night’s on-air blunder from ESPN’s Rick Reilly grew legs longer than a giraffe with an overactive pituitary gland, spawning at one point an apparent incident of ESPN-on-ESPN crime.
“Hey @reillyrick,” NFL reporter Ed Werder wrote, “please inform Twitter followers you’ve turned the Big Ben story over to others. Either that, or take my reporting shift.”
But Werder has explained to PFT that his deleted tweet from Tuesday wasn’t intended as a slap at Reilly for his clumsy effort to claim credit for posting information about Ben Roethlisberger’s injury on Twitter.
“I was reporting on the [Roethlisberger] injury all day and during a break noticed people on Twitter telling me that it was Reilly’s story and that I should credit him,” Werder recently said via multiple text messages. “I thought it was unusual he had such loyal followers so decided to tweet him humorously asking that he inform followers I had his permission to cover the story now. At the time, I had no idea what had happened late [Monday] night postgame because I went to bed knowing I had early NFL Insider segments. When I finally saw what had happened, I realized the Twitter world was mocking him and I had unwittingly added to the problem. I immediately deleted the tweet of my own volition because Rick and I have never had a problem.”
Werder added that he and Reilly both worked for the Boulder Daily Camera at different times, and that Werder in the past had sought out Reilly for criticism of Werder’s written work.
“I apologized because I owed an apology to someone who is one of the most accomplished writers in journalism,” Werder said.
That should be the end of the story, especially since Steve Young has now explained that he gave Reilly an on-air “bro stare.” (Now we need someone to explain what a “bro stare” is.)
Of course, there’s always a chance Reilly will put a bow on this one by declaring, “I’m in your head, Werder.”