NFL adds editor’s note to Baker Mayfield handshake snub story

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The NFL has chimed in on #HandshakeGate.

The league is involved not because the pregame interactions between 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield create issues under any specific NFL policy but because the media conglomerate owned and operated by the NFL published the story that falsely accused Mayfield of snubbing Sherman. Specifically, NFL.com added the following editor’s note at the top of the item from Mike Silver.

“NFL Media’s Michael Silver had a lengthy on-the-record discussion with 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman following Monday night’s Cleveland-San Francisco game,” the note explains. “After the publishing of this column, video surfaced that showed Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield slapping hands with Sherman before the coin toss, then running to his sideline after the referee picked up the coin. Sherman later acknowledged the initial shake on Twitter while further explaining why he still took offense.”

No changes have been made to the actual story. It continues to create the impression that Mayfield refused to shake the hand of Sherman and 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner prior to the coin toss on Monday night, even though multiple pieces of video evidence show that this is false.

The explanation in the editor’s note minimizes the falsehood contained in the story, and it fails to point out that Sherman doubled and tripled down on his claim that Mayfield refused to shake Sherman’s hand in tweets based on video that did not conclusively reveal a Mayfield-Sherman handshake. When indisputable video emerged, Sherman deleted those tweets. The league’s approach meshes with Sherman’s effort to move the target, pointing to Mayfield “running to the sideline” as the basis for Sherman’s reaction, even though Silver’s story clearly refers to the interactions before, not after, the coin was tossed as the reason for Sherman’s ire.

It’s a strange situation, to be sure. The media often finds itself in the midst of a controversy regarding erroneous stories or misunderstandings. In this case, the media outlet at the heart of the issue is owned and operated by the NFL.

Complicating matters is the history between Silver, Mayfield, and former Browns coach Hue Jackson. Silver and Jackson are friends; Jackson and Mayfield are enemies. Not surprisingly, Silver has been criticial of Mayfield. It’s been an issue in the past, and it’s hard not to at least wonder whether Silver pushed this specific story to publication without stopping to think, “Hey, there may be video of this incident in the possession of the NFL or the 49ers that will either confirm or debunk Sherman’s claims.”

Of course, the fact that this information was discovered after the story emerged provided an intriguing glimpse into the sausage-making process. But this won’t change the reality that the false claim that Mayfield snubbed Sherman and Buckner firmly took root — and was uncorrected by the NFL for at least three hours — before the NFL engaged in a half-hearted effort to supplement its story with a softened version of the truth.

34 responses to “NFL adds editor’s note to Baker Mayfield handshake snub story

  1. It’s not that deep as you are trying to make it. They reported a quote from a player that turned out not to be true. This website did the same thing

  2. This isn’t the first time Silver has used his position as a “reporter” to advance an agenda. Over a decade ago he could number Tom Brady as a source. Not any more. He burned that bridge to. Pats fans could have warned you to look twice on anything he writes.

    What’s bad is that even under the light of day they want you to believe what didn’t happen. If that sounds familiar just turn on the news. That’s National policy today.

  3. Physician, heal thyself.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one that would not have been surprised if the headline had read: “Aaron Rodgers has not answered any questions about handshake incident!”

  4. Did Silver neglect to mention the racial slurs being uttered by Mayfield as he ignored the offers of respect from the Seahawk players? That’s not like Mike to overlook that element in these situations.

  5. Hate it when reporters let personal feelings slant their articles. Silver needs to issue an apology to Mayfield and a “Really Dude?” to Sherman.

  6. Where’s Peter King’s apology?

    “Cut the crap and go play football?”

    Peter King, just retire man.

  7. Silver has a reputation of manipulating and creating false narratives especially those where there is a connection with Hue.

  8. thegreatgabbert says:
    October 8, 2019 at 6:09 pm
    Did Silver neglect to mention the racial slurs being uttered by Mayfield as he ignored the offers of respect from the Seahawk players? That’s not like Mike to overlook that element in these situations.

    Seahawks play them THIS Sunday… Haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about. And when the Seahawks play the 49er’s you can bet that Russell Wilson and the rest of the Seahawk captains will shake Richard’s hand as they are very professional in all aspects of the game… of course that’s because they got rid of Richard Sherman, among others.

  9. Richard Sherman is the one guy who can actually make me pull for Baker Mayfield (lying about handshake) and Jerry Jones (reckless reference to “plantation owner” mentality).

    I hate rooting for Jones or Mayfield. Yuck.

  10. But did they clear it with the totalitarian socialist country of China before running the story? After all, that is what is most important when it comes to the media these days.

  11. It’s getting weird watching these old men like Michael Silver & Peter King report on these kids 30-40 years younger than them. Way out of touch. Now Booger’s rule the roost. Ah, Father time forgives no one.

  12. Suddenly everyone has forgotten Mayfield is a bust and was embarrassed on national television with a pathetic performance with a qb rating of 1.4 lmao. Forget about the stupid handshake and start focusing on being a better qb or he’ll be the next Johnny manziel and out of the nfl in two years.

  13. Please stop reporting on this. Do we not all have better things to do than worry whether Mayfield shook Sherman’s hand or why Sherman might have lied about it.

    Isn’t there something you should be reporting on that’s more important?

  14. The same thing as the fake news networks do every day – advance an agenda in full knowledge they are spreading falsehoods and propaganda. They think it honorable to engage in deceit and destruction.

  15. Am I the only one to think it a little ironic to see who it is making a big deal about this particular slice of the media perpetuating falsehood to advance an agenda and then when caught they simply dodge and obfuscate. One thing concerning that, at least they acknowledged there’s a problem unlike some fake news peddlers who just push ahead pretending they are truth-tellers.

  16. Richard Sherman making something up to serve his own agenda. I’m shocked….not really.

  17. There are plenty of things to criticize Baker on, there was really no need to make up a story.

  18. I see Sherman is coming out of his shell now that he’s got a winning record? Not surprised. He always was a loudmouth frontrunner. It’s one of the things I definitely don’t miss about him. Next up: he’ll start throwing teammates under the bus anonymously when they lose.

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