ESPN denies holding Palmer story

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To kick off what was expected to be a boring final day of the 2011 trading period, we pointed out that ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown included a tease, but no payoff, regarding the things that Adam Schefter had been hearing about possible trades after a day of working the phones.

There’s now a question as to whether Schefter knew more than what he said he knew, and whether he withheld it in order to help get the deal done.

The issue arose earlier today, when The Big Lead pointed out that a high school friend and business partner of Carson Palmer’s posted on Twitter that Schefter knew the trade was happening Monday night, and that he stayed silent “to protect [Palmer] and the deal.”

ESPN gave the story credence by issuing a statement denying that the network squatted on the story.  “We were pursing the story aggressively yet felt there wasn’t enough confirmed information as of last night to report it,” the statement said.  “The suggestion that it wasn’t reported to protect anyone involved, including Carson Palmer, is simply wrong.”

Regardless of whether Schefter was or wasn’t keeping quiet in order to keep Bengals owner Mike Brown from sticking his head back in his shell, there’s a big difference between reporting that the trade definitely would happen and reporting that the two teams were talking about it.  The media was on notice that the Raiders wanted Palmer, thanks to Jason Cole’s story from Sunday night.  If talks were happening and/or if a deal was moving toward conclusion, why not download whatever Schefter knew about the talks as of last night, during Monday Night Countdown or at halftime?  ESPN, and every other media company covering the NFL, isn’t bashful about trafficking in what “could” happen, especially when it comes to who “could” be traded at the annual deadline.

That said, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for a reporter to be told key facts about a looming deal in exchange for a promise that he’ll get the opportunity to break the story once the deal is done.  (If such a deal was made, it didn’t work out; Jay Glazer of FOX was the one who broke the story.)  In this case, it would be reasonable for someone like Palmer’s agent (who surely knew what was happening, given that the Raiders never would have done the deal if Palmer didn’t plan to show up) or someone with the Raiders to ask Schefter to sit on the story in order to avoid scaring the Bengals away.

I’m not saying I don’t believe ESPN.  I’m simply saying that the information tweeted by Palmer’s friend/business partner meshes with the manner in which business routinely gets done, in this particular business.  That’s why the better approach for ESPN may have been to say nothing at all.

51 responses to “ESPN denies holding Palmer story

  1. I have the NBC Sports Talk application to avoid mention of the 4-letter network.

    This story is complete crap. It is a case of
    shoulda, coulda, woulda. They did not know. They have to promote themselves as the world wide leader.

    They lost the scoop!!! Hopefully NBC & CBS Sports can knock them off their thorn.

  2. Your missing the biggest loser in this whole trade. The poor guy who runs the fastest 40 in the next draft wont have many chances to get drafted by DaRaduhs. Think of the millions he will lose!!!!!!

  3. “We were pursing the story aggressively yet felt there wasn’t enough confirmed information as of last night to report it,”


    LMAO … When did “confirmed information” ever get in the way of them reporting anything ?

    that still has me laughing ..

    confirmed information . . . o ‘ man that’s funny.

  4. In an age of instant communication, getting the scoop on these stories is like yelling “FIRST”, on a comment thread.

  5. …or maybe ESPN actually followed journalistic standards for a change and waited until they confirmed the information with multiple reliable sources…

    It would be out of character for ESPN to do this, but it’s possible.

  6. ESPN is the Fox News of sports.

    Sensationalistic and completely uninterested in providing news….only what serves their interests.

  7. Should we be applying the rules of absolute journalism to ESPN? They are in the entertainment business, they are not like say… CNNSI and Peter King who are actual journalists.

    This is known as the FOX principle these days. Networks whose primary mission is to entertain rather than inform may not be held to the same standards in terms of journalism.

    And frankly the suggestion that Schefter did something inethical is just that.

  8. If ESPN sat on the story to help get the deal done, more power to them. Sometimes the “need to know” is not surpassed by the deal at hand. You need to grow the hell up. This isn’t life or death…it’s freakin’ football.

  9. So what? In the “old” days – reporters held stories/cooperated with teams all the time – so they could get the lead on that story and the next ones.

  10. I can’t blame Schefter for not saying anything sooner especially when Mike Brown is as skiddish as most cats. And plus, it’s ESPN, come on, there’s not any sports networks like it. It’s all we got for the most part so might as well keep tuning in…

  11. a sports reporter thinking about someone other then himself. Im genuinely surprised, however I am not surprised that this very reporter is being criticized by other reporters for having some decency within him.

  12. so let me get this straight? The story was sat on so that Mike Brown wouldn’t get scared away by the collective “damn the Bengals robbed the Raiders!!!!” reactions that would have come from an early leak? Do I have that right?

  13. Do you mean that someone in the media, especially from ESPN, withheld a story or certain information in the best interests of someone other than themselves? If this is true, Schefter & ESPN should get a lot of credit. The media today is far too often concerned with being the first to “break a story” that they will hurt & step over anyone and anything on their way to do it. It makes me sick at times, but this would really be a feel good story if true.

  14. Schefter only reports what has been posted all over the internet. He must be kin to someone in a high place to even have a job.

  15. ESPN desperately needs similar competition.

    I can’t think of any corporation or business off the top of my head that is as large as an ESPN and that has no direct competition in each facet that it functions (maybe Apple).

  16. “now a question as to whether Schefter knew more than what he said he knew, and whether he withheld it in order to help get the deal done.”

    Seriously, Thanks Adam for keeping quiet….you learned well from Al Davis.

  17. NOT that I’m suggesting ESPN is a bastion of journalistic integrity, but… IF they got wind of a story that had all the pertinent facts in advance of everyone else, AND had any good reason to doubt the credibility of the source or the information, waiting to check those facts to ensure they didn’t broadcast obvious BS that one side or the other wanted public to further their own cause would be the responsible thing to do. Seems like it’s possible that would explain all of this? Maybe not correct, but perhaps Schefter deserves the benefit of the doubt. I mean if he’d broadcast it immediately, and the result was major criticism from Bengals fans or Raiders fans and that caused one side to change their mind… wouldn’t that be more irresponsible than sitting on it until they were certain of the facts?

  18. wasn’t schefter accused by Al Davis of having it out for the raiders? Now he’s protecting them? btw ESPN is a wnba pushing bag of crap…

  19. I’m not sure what the point is here. He held back or he didn’t, who cares?

    And Jay Glazer breaks all the big stories, we know that already.

  20. For those of us old enough to remember CNNSI on tv, i wish it never went off the air. They kept espn on their toes.

  21. My take…

    The trading away of two 1sts (pretty much) is okay because the Raiders already have a plethora of young players in the team, they don’t need to rebuild due to an aging team. They’re already stocked up with young talent and just need that difference maker at QB who can take that young team forward together for 4 years.

    By then too Terrelle Pryor has learned under Palmer and Jackson for 3-4 years and is ready to lead the Raiders for another 10 years. Around the 3rd or 4th season, it’s possible Palmer is on the wane and Pryor is looking better than him in training, and will take over. (if of course, Pryor’s development all goes to plan).

    I see it as a win-win really. Bengals get a guaranteed 1st and possibly another 1st (if Raiders make it to the AFC Championship** game either this year or next). Those picks would be possibly in the mid-late 20’s, and can grab some good rookie prospects. Remembering the draft is a crap shoot. And it’s a win for the Raiders because they get a pro-bowl caliber QB, someone who can actually pass downfield and assert a passing game, thus forcing defenses to protect both pass and run, thus helping McFadden generate even more yards/TDs. As the last few weeks he’s been loaded up against, teams daring the below-average Campbell/Boller to pass, and they have been meh to woeful at it.

  22. @GG… According to reports, the 2013 pick turns into a first-rounder if the Raiders WIN A playoff game. It doesn’t say anything about a championship game.

  23. Thegonz13…

    It’s been confirmed that the 2nd turns into a 1st if the Raiders make it to the AFC Championship game in either 2011 or 2012 seasons.

  24. Adam Scheftner is all about his sources. That is what landed him the big money deal at ESPN. I don’t blame him at all sitting on it if his source asked not to report. He burns those bridges he will no longer get the information he does. To be honest I already think he burnt Alot of those bridges when he left NFLN.

  25. A first and a second that can escalate to a first was just too good of an offer for Mike Brown to pass up. He made his point with Carson and any other player who tries to pull this “I quit so trade me” BS and he made it well. The only thing that could have delayed this trade is Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis popping champagne bottles while they had the league office on hold to finalize the trade. Even Mike Brown isn’t stupid enough to pass up a chance to rip off the Raiders.

  26. ESPN is late to everything.

    They haven’t reported on all the dirty CFB programs because they’re to busy with their di##’s up the BcS’s ass!!

  27. thegonz13:

    The reports you’re listening to are wrong, they have to make the Championship game either this year, or next.

  28. We really need another sports channel,ESPN lost me by over using that clown Skip Baseless!!!! I waited for the BCS COUNTDOWN then when I tune in I see this idiot with his stupid and hyper opinions. I tuned out rather than expose myself to this idiot. I no longer view this station except for games.

  29. hendeeze says:Oct 18, 2011 11:25 PM

    Your missing the biggest loser in this whole trade. The poor guy who runs the fastest 40 in the next draft wont have many chances to get drafted by DaRaduhs. Think of the millions he will lose!!!!!!
    He is not loseing anything. The new CBA has a rookie pay scale now. He is, for all intents and purposes, going to get paid the same, regardless who drafts him.

  30. Scare Mike Brown and the Bengals away? LOL, they were probably jumping up and down on the phone when they heard the Raiders were stupid enough to trade 2 first rounders (possibly) for Crazy Legs Palmer. This story makes zero sense.

  31. This is a non-story. So what if he held on to the story? People in the news do it all the time, there is no obligation to spit out every piece of information you ever heard.

  32. If you are a Patriots or Cowboy fan you probably love ESPN. You can almost see the high lights of the entire games on Count down, while the rest of the games flash by, lucky to catch the score.

  33. of course PFT wants ESPN to post stories as soon as they get wind of them–how else are there going to be stories for us to read on this site??? And maybe (but probably not), ESPN is starting to realize that THEY ARE NOT A NEWS ORGANIZATION, THEY ARE A SPORTS CHANNEL LOOKING TO MARKET THEMSELVES AND GET VIEWERS. whats gets more casual eyes to tune in, talking about a bunch of potential trades, or talking about a (one-time) franchise qb getting traded back to his home state?

  34. This couldn’t possibly have been a way for Adam Schefter to maintain his credibility, and the trust he has been able to build between himself and various NFL players, executives and personnel so as to be able to continue to gain inside access to various reports or stories. No that would make too much sense and isn’t at all what journalists are taught to do…

  35. Not like holding a story is unprecedented for ESPN – I’m still waiting for them to break the Roethlessburger sexual assault story.

  36. “ESPN will be better next year when Andy Reid is added as an analyst.”


    Are you kidding me? He’s got no time management ability – he’ll be talking through every commercial break.

  37. Are you telling me ESPN is more of a marketing firm for the leagues and players rather than a journalistic entity covering them?

    I’m shocked.

    And lying.

    The disappointment in them is 100% real, though.

  38. @wewantmoretebowandfavrearticles

    I don’t think Brown “proved” anything. Palmer and Brown were basically at one big stalemate. Palmer said he was going to retire, which he didn’t do. Brown said if Palmer isn’t going to play for the Bengals, he won’t play for anyone, then he got traded.

    In my view, Brown is still a complete nutjob of an owner because he just won’t fire that awful head coach. At one point, the Bengals were one of the most talented teams in the league and he did nothing with that talent. He’s a lame duck coach. He won’t take that team anywhere.

  39. I( find it kind of shocking that these media outlets care so much about who broke such a meaningless story that everyone will know about anyway. That is nothing to be proud of and no one cares about it other then maybe those in charge. That ESPN or anyone broke the news of a trade, that 5 minutes later, everyone else knew, means nothing. Be proud to break a story when you broke it because if real journalism, real investigative work, and it is a story that if you didn’t break it, no one else would have at all, or at least no one else would have for a significant period of time.

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