Wednesday has come and gone, and Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has yet to sign a new contract with the Jets. Saturday will be here soon, but the man who predicted that Revis would ink a blockbuster deal on either day (but, curiously, on neither of the two days in between) already is folding up the tent and preparing to move on.
Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News and ESPN provided a half-hearted (hoof-hearted) mea culpa on Thursday, acknowledging the erroneous nature of his single-source Twitter reporting while claiming that, in the end, none of it matters because Revis will remain with the Jets.
Cowlishaw also came close to breaking out the patent-pending “it would have happened but the sh-tstorm created by my report threw it off track” excuse, explaining that “when this is over
and Revis has come to terms with the Jets, I may be able to
figure out why it didn’t happen as it was presented to me.”
Cowlishaw justifies his blunder by pointing to a concept he calls “degress [sic] of ‘wrongness,'” which apparently is the journalistic equivalent of, “Yeah, I screwed up royally. But at least I didn’t get charged with felony domestic violence in L.A. last weekend.” In so doing, Cowlishaw offers up the, frankly, bizarre notion that his error wasn’t as bad as it would have been if he had reported that Revis would be playing for someone other than the Jets.
case,” Cowlishaw writes, “he isn’t going to sign with a rival like the Giants or the
Patriots. This story is not going to have that unhappy of an ending for
Jets fans. One way or another, new long-term megadeal like a Pittsburgh radio station reported Tuesday, or same old deal he already has in place, Revis is going to be a Jet. We just don’t know the date.”
(Gee, I wish I would have thought of that one when we passed along erroneous reports of Terry Bradshaw’s death a few years ago. After all, Bradshaw eventually will be deceased. We just don’t know the date.)
Whatever happened to simply owning an error, apologizing for it, and moving on? (Curiously, the words “apology” or “sorry” or “regret” appear nowhere in Cowlishaw’s latest offering.) It’s one thing to explain the circumstances surrounding the mistake (like we did with Bradshaw when pointing out that we were simply passing along published reports that Bradshaw had passed away, which reports originated from multiple media outlets in Shreveport, where an accident had occurred on the “Terry Bradshaw Passway“). It’s another thing to explain why the mistake wasn’t as bad of a mistake as it could have been if the mistake had related to something that wasn’t already widely believed to be inevitable.
In this case, most league observers believe that Revis inevitably will be a Jet. But the key question for a franchise that faces in the first three regular-season games the Ravens and Anquan Boldin, the Patriots and Randy Moss, and the Dolphins and Brandon Marshall is whether they’ll do so with or without Revis on the field. Thus, the timing of Revis’ return takes on a great deal of significance, and any suggestion that he’ll be showing up in the short term will create, as it did on Sunday after Cowlishaw’s Twitter report, a feeding frenzy.
The nonchalance Cowlishaw displays in defeat mirrors the manner in which he first arrived on the Revis scene. Cowlishaw heard something from a source whom Cowlishaw claims had never been wrong before, and then Cowlishaw casually dropped a hand grenade into the middle of a high-stakes story that has kept the nerves of all Jets fans frayed for weeks. He did so with no apparent understanding of the depth of the impasse or the nature of the issues or the content of the offers; indeed, if Cowlishaw had been following the story closely, his instincts would have told him — as ours told us — that it’s highly unlikely that anyone would know on Sunday that the controversy would be wrapped up neatly and cleanly within a matter of days, like the unexpected twist that comes out of the blue in the last two minutes of an episode of a sitcom.
So Cowlishaw’s biggest error wasn’t being wrong. He erred most grievously in underestimating the size, importance, and nuances of the story — and in not realizing that any suggestion that Revis would soon be reporting would instantly become huge news in the nation’s No. 1 media market, and in most of the rest of them.