ESPN has finally said “we’re sorry” to the Patriots. But not for the report that turned a curiosity into #DeflateGate!
Instead, ESPN has apologized for repeating as fact a Boston Herald report regarding alleged cheating prior to Super Bowl XXXVI, even though the Herald report that the Patriots videotaped the Rams’ final walk-through practice before the game was prominently retracted years ago.
“On two occasions in recent weeks, SportsCenter incorrectly cited a 2002 report regarding the New England Patriots and Super Bowl XXXVI,” anchor Steve Levy said at 12:20 a.m. ET Thursday, in a one-time-only on-air declaration of regret. “That story was found to be false, and should not have been part of our reporting. We apologize to the Patriots organization.”
The correction, which technically needs to be corrected again because it was a 2008 report not 2002, hasn’t been repeated on the endless Thursday morning SportsCenter loop, which makes it the equivalent of the tiny little correction buried in an obscure location of a newspaper.
Speaking of things buried in obscure locations, the apology appears nowhere that we can find it on the front page of ESPN.com or the ESPN.com NFL home page or the ESPN.com Patriots page. Instead, it shows up on the ESPN.com Corrections page.
ESPN provided PFT a link to the Corrections page, which I otherwise can’t find at ESPN.com. It’s identical to what Levy read on the air — including the erroneous reference to 2002, not 2008.
I then scrolled through the corrections page to see specifically where ESPN.com corrected its report from Chris Mortensen that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs were measured at two pounds under the minimum during halftime of the AFC title game. There’s no correction to be found on that point, and there’s been no on-air apology.
I suppose I’ll have to set my alarm for 12:20 a.m. ET every night to see if Steve Levy has anything to say about it. Or whether he’ll be talking about a grievance being filed against the Patriots on behalf of a player with a very specific type of neck injury.
And, yes, it was former Patriots defensive back Maurice Hurst who had that very specific type of neck injury that Levy so famously shared with us two decades ago.