Media skirmish breaks out over John Henderson reports

We always love a good media fight.  We love it even more when it doesn’t involve us.

Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that the Raiders offered a fifth-round pick to the Jaguars for defensive tackle John Henderson.  After refusing the offer, the Jags cut Henderson — and the Raiders eventually landed him for no compensation to Jacksonville.

Then, Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union reported that the Raiders “put out” the story, and that no such offer ever was made.

Now, Tafur has fired back, with an item titled “Vito Stellino is an idiot.”

At the risk of being the next reporter (or whatever in the hell I am) called an idiot by Tafur, I need to make a couple of candid, objective observations regarding some of the statements contained in his article.

Let me start with a generalization as broad as the one he hurled at Stellino.  “Vittorio Tafur is naive.”

Tafur bases his conclusion that Stellino is an idiot on the notion that the Raiders “don’t do anything to make themselves look good.”  Really?

We have no idea how long Tafur has been covering the Raiders (or any NFL team, for that matter), but he apparently was not paying attention when, for instance, the team attacked ESPN’s Adam Schefter (then of NFL Network) as a “false rumor monger” because Schefter reported that the Raiders soon would fire coach Art Shell. 

More significantly, the Raiders responded very aggressively in early 2008 to reports regarding the magnitude of the contract signed by receiver Javon Walker by putting out much smaller numbers.  The only problem?  The Raiders disseminated inaccurate information, forcing the team later to admit that the initial reports were indeed accurate.

And who can forget the press conference announcing the termination of Lane Kiffin?  Every word uttered by owner Al Davis had one goal in mind. 

Making the Raiders look good.

Also, Tafur amazingly attempts to defend his report by outing his unnamed source.  “One person — I called him a league source in the story — who should
know what he is talking about said the Jaguars last month offered
Henderson for a fourth-round pick but the Raiders would only part with a
fifth,” Tafur writes. 

Translation?  Tafur’s source was Henderson’s agent, Tim McGee.

Next, Tafur justified his inability to confirm the notion that the Raiders offered a fifth-round pick for Henderson by explaining that he placed the assertion in the seventh paragraph of his story.  I’ve never gone to “J” school (and it shows on a daily basis), but I’d be surprised to learn that the newspaper industry’s double-sourcing standards that apply in paragraph one don’t also apply in paragraph seven.

Tafur, who apparently has spent plenty of time covering NBA basketball, college football, and college basketball, also has failed to consider one very important reality regarding any potential trade of Henderson.  The Raiders and the player would have had to work out a deal on an adjustment to the contract that the Jags ultimately dumped.  The suggestion that the Raiders were willing to ship to the Jaguars a fifth-round pick implies that the Raiders would have been willing to absorb a commitment to pay him a base salary of $5 million in 2010.  So unless the Raiders and Henderson had a deal in principle regarding a significantly reduced salary for 2010, it’s highly unlikely that a fifth-round pick would have been moving from Oakland to Jacksonville.

We’re also troubled by the blatant hostility in Tafur’s article, if only because we’ve come to expect the mainstream media to not behave that way.  Dishing out insults is a hallmark of independent blogs.  Unless the Chronicle has decided to adopt an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach, we’ve got a feeling that more than a few folks at the Chronicle are feeling uncomfortable regarding Tafur’s gratuitous and, frankly, underinformed attack on Stellino, one of the most tenured and respected football writers in the country.

Look, we’ve got no problem with a good, old-fashioned media takedown.  But Tafur needs to get his sea legs under him regarding the nuances of the NFL before jumping to unwarranted conclusions regarding the way this league works.  And he can start by doing some basic research regarding the manner in which the team he now covers has operated in the past.

Put simply, if Vito Stellino is an idiot for thinking that the Raiders want to make themselves look good, then the entire NFL press corps is full of idiots.

Except for Vittorio Tafur, who is simply naive.

51 responses to “Media skirmish breaks out over John Henderson reports

  1. Come on Sour-Bro,
    Let’s hear your idiotic masterpiece.
    ‘Nation…………

  2. “…..needs to get his sea legs under him regarding the nuances of the (insert team name) before jumping to unwarranted conclusions regarding the way (insert team name) work. And he can start by doing some basic research…….”
    _______________________________
    Sorry, for a second there I thought you were self-criticizing the PFT fiefdom…

  3. ” Unless the Chronicle has decided to adopt an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach, we’ve got a feeling that more than a few folks at the Chronicle are feeling uncomfortable regarding Tafur’s gratuitous and, frankly, underinformed attack on Stellino, one of the most tenured and respected football writers in the country.”
    CornFlorio – correct me if i’m wrong, ( i mean who knows with how low budget and shady the media is these days), but don’t most NewsPapers have editors?
    If the Chronicle is this uncomfortable with his article, and name calling, why print it?
    Looks like Chronicle is officially a RAG

  4. The suggestion that the Raiders were willing to ship to the Jaguars a fifth-round pick implies that the Raiders would have been willing to absorb a commitment to pay him a base salary of $5 million in 2010. So unless the Raiders and Henderson had a deal in principle regarding a significantly reduced salary for 2010, it’s highly unlikely that a fifth-round pick would have been moving from Oakland to Jacksonville.
    Thanks for taking the point I made yesterday and putting it in this article. This is the essential element of the story. No way they offered a 5th rounf pick for Henderson because then they would have paid him 5 million on 2010. Now they get him for substantially less.

  5. Generally the one that has to resort to calling someone an “idiot” is admitting defeat.

  6. “then the entire NFL press corps is full of idiots”
    Yep.
    Don’t include your self among them Florio, you are yet to work your way up to being an idiot. Now you are just a Fox news style hype monger.

  7. Of course, this attack on Vittorio’s attack on Vito is obligatory, isn’t it. I enjoy the fact that I can learn about some rumors – but usually I just get early headlines on stuff that’s already happened – but I can’t stand the bias and poor reporting that goes on… usually attributable to Mr. Florio.

  8. Wow, a foot long column about nothing.
    There’s an obvious disconnect between the media and the public. Too often, someone will post a story only the media cares about.

  9. No way I’m reading all that meaningless shit, but just by skimming through the names (Vittorio, Vito Stellino) it sounds like someone might end up in a trunk in Jersey somewhere.

  10. Vittorio Tafur hasn’t been covering the Raiders very long. He took over for David White when the Chronicle moved White to the Whiners beat.
    Haven’t been impressed so far.
    Besides that who cares? Jags dumped him, Raiders picked him up. It’s done, move forward.

  11. You forgot to mention everything’s moot since signing John Henderson won’t improve their run defense. (

  12. Vittorio Tafur? Vito Stellino? What does Johnny “The Nose” Pellini think of this? Someone is ending up in the trunk of a car.

  13. “Translation? Tafur’s source was Henderson’s agent, Tim McGee.”
    We can only hope that Tafur’s source isn’t Henderson’s mother, and that Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland refrains from weighing in on the possibility.

  14. Florio, your an IDIOT! Vito Stellino is saying that Vittorio Tafur is trying to make the Raider’s look good. Not the organztion. Get some reading comprehension skills!
    “It has been brought to my attention that Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union had accused me of planting a story for the Raiders, so that they can look good. Questioning another reporter’s integrity without so much as the courtesy of an e-mail or a call is not why Stellino is an idiot. There are other words for that.”
    “The reason my man Vito is an idiot is that everyone who has covered the Raiders or dealt with them for one day knows that they could not care less what people — especially the media — think.”
    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/raiders/detail?blogid=11&entry_id=65815#ixzz0qxbZQsHO

  15. ‘We always love a good media fight. We love it even more when it doesn’t involve us.’ – Mike Florio
    ~~~~~~~
    Are you kidding? You’re involved. You chose sides yesterday and you’re busily doing your best to help your guy win. You chose Vito and you’re giving him the neck-rub and telling him things like, “You got this one champ. Just keep your hands up and poke that jab in there and look for an opening for your left.” Meanwhile you’re calling out Vittorio, whom you didn’t choose, like a punk you’re standing behind Vito saying, “You suck you little liar! My pal Vito’s gonna kick your butt!”
    Florio, you’re so transparent you remind me of a jellyfish.

  16. “And who can forget the press conference announcing the termination of Lane Kiffin? Every word uttered by owner Al Davis had one goal in mind. ”
    “Making the Raiders look good”
    LMFAO! You think that press conference was to make the Raiders look good?
    Your a complete idiot. The only reason he held that conference was so he didnt have to pay Kiffin for cause.
    Your a Lawyer? LMFAO!

  17. Oh how I love the way Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders can stick in the side of the Raiders Haters. They fall apart and blow all cover of non bias while being to slow to see it.
    It does not take a Genius to know that the Jags shopped Henderson like it was Christmas. I could see the Raiders offering a 5th round pick for Henderson but a 4 I doubt.
    With how bad the Jags mismanaged the Draft and after being hung out to dry on making Jerry Porter that huge offer and signing him after the Raiders did not even make him an offer. I can see how they would get their back up on anything Raiders.
    With the knowledge that along with the out there for all to see missteps in this years Draft. I guess it getting out there that they also threw away a 5th round pick as well kind of stings.
    But settle down son and wipe that foam from your mouth. With the book you wrote above on a so what subject just shows how shaky you are when it comes to the Raiders. And to think with all your drive, Al Davis does not even know that you are alive lol. How I love that man.

  18. Wow. A reporter criticizes another reporter and then gets criticized by another reporter?
    Good for Tafur. He should stick up for himself if Stellino accused of something he didn’t do in print. Even though the accusations were aimed at a writer, Stellino obviously launched the initial accusation in order to deflect criticism of the Jags front office for getting nothing in return for Henderson.
    It’s ridiculous that sports media can make up stories, report inaccurate and false information and take potshots at athletes, coaches, owners and teams without ever having to own up to what they said. Tafur, or any media type, that is willing to call a “colleague” out for lying should be applauded.

  19. I thought it was a solid argument florio. Your points I think are valid.
    I guess my two cents is that I find it ironic considering your self deprecating style of humor (one a loser like myself can appreciate) that you hold the journalism industry in such high regard.
    I believe, perhaps cynically, that the industry’s goal is and always will be to have people read their stuff. Now this site can get people to comment by posting something ridiculous and unsubstantiated about the Raiders run D to milk some hits and comments, but i think in the end the veterans of the same field, be it print or cyber still pull the same tricks from time to time.
    Fact is this guy has nothing better to say to get people to read what he writes. If he did, i’m sure in order to get where he is he would be smart enough to know to print the better story.
    He got some exposure and that’s the goal.
    Irony still is that while you may pretend to not be the same caliber as people who have merely been doing the J thing a while longer than you, the fact that a lot of your opinion pieces at the very least utilize reasoning skills that many writers would be befitted to use is appreciated by this guy over here.
    For what it’s worth

  20. Put them in the octagon and let them settle it like men.
    Since they’re media, there have to be a few ground rules:
    1) no open hand slapping
    2) no scratching
    3) no crying for mommy or yelling “my dad’s gonna beat you up”
    4) no high-pitched screaming
    headlocks and wedgies are ok, just make em count.

  21. At the risk of being the next reporter (or whatever in the hell I am)
    ———————
    You’re a blogger.

  22. I’d say about 90%+ of unnamed sources around NFL stories are agents, so I wouldn’t be shocked if Tim McGee was Tafur’s source, but how the F does he out his unnamed source here as Florio suggests:
    ***
    Also, Tafur amazingly attempts to defend his report by outing his unnamed source. “One person — I called him a league source in the story — who should know what he is talking about said the Jaguars last month offered Henderson for a fourth-round pick but the Raiders would only part with a fifth,” Tafur writes.
    Translation? Tafur’s source was Henderson’s agent, Tim McGee.
    ***
    Translation? WTF? “A league source who should know what he is talking about” qualifies as outing Henderson’s agent? Florio must have found a special decoder ring to be so cocksure about that one.

  23. Stellino is a hack and will say anything. The Jaguar beat is so boring he decides to stir this pot.

  24. Raider B wrote:
    “Florio, your an IDIOT!”…”Your a complete idiot. The only reason he held that conference was so he didnt have to pay Kiffin for cause.
    …Your a Lawyer? LMFAO!”
    For eff’s sake, Raider B, it’s “Florio, YOU’RE an IDIOT!””YOU’RE a complete idiot” and “YOU’RE a Lawyer?”, not “your”.
    If you’re going to insult someone, at least don’t make yourself look like an illiterate imbecile.

  25. the hostility in his article…gimme a break. Have you ever seen what you guys write about the raiders….It would be fair to call you guys idiots as well..but lets just keep it to the fact…raider hating writers, that have nothing ever positive to say about the raiders, and or al davis. PFT is begining to do a better job of the hate than BSPN
    Evan Silva for douche bag of the year award.

  26. so with florio added in we have 3 geeks who know nothing about football. Id have to say this is like high school and watching the nerds find over Dungeon and Dragons.

  27. Slow day at the home office Florio? Claiming you’re not involved yet you go out of your way to involve yourself anyway?

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