Bruce Allen emails include Adam Schefter seeking feedback on unpublished story

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The NFL may never fully disclose all of the 650,000 emails generated by the Washington Football Team investigation. (It should.) Other information from those materials nevertheless may come to light.

Some already has come to light, even though it initially went unnoticed.

Via Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times, a June court filing in a fight between Washington owner Daniel Snyder and former team president Bruce Allen over whether Snyder would be permitted to secure discovery materials from Allen in the ongoing quest to prove a defamation case filed by Snyder in India over an article falsely linking him to Jeffrey Epstein (that’s quite a precursor) includes some of Allen’s emails.

Most notably, some of the Jon Gruden emails to Allen, the leaking of which caused Gruden to resign as coach of the Raiders, were included in the filing, with some (but not total) redaction of Gruden’s identity.

Another aspect of the emails produced in the Arizona dispute between Snyder and Allen has created a stir. In July 2011, Allen and ESPN’s Adam Schefter corresponded regarding a story related to the efforts to conclude the lockout. Schefter actually sent Allen the full draft of a story that Schefter planned to publish, for Allen’s review and approval.

“Please let me know if you see anything that should be added, changed, tweaked,” Schefter wrote. “Thanks, Mr. Editor, for that and the trust. Plan to file this to espn about 6 am. . . .”

Via Farmer and Fenno, ESPN released the following statement in response to that message: “Without sharing all the specifics of the reporter’s process for a story from 10 years ago during the NFL lockout, we believe that nothing is more important to Adam and ESPN than providing fans the most accurate, fair and complete story.”

The email became relevant to the dispute between Allen and Snyder because Allen had insisted in a sworn statement that he “maintained a low profile with respect to the media” and that he “never served as an anonymous source for any news or media reports.”

It’s a fascinating glimpse into the sausage-making process as it relates to NFL news. And it’s definitely not normal for reporters to send entire stories to a source for a review, a fact-check, a proofread, or whatever.

The email also provides a glimpse into how chummy these relationships can be, which is very normal in all forms of media when reporters and sources develop relationships. Frankly, this unexpected sliver of the Allen emails makes it all the more important to have all of the Allen/WFT emails released, so that Gruden’s comments can be fairly and properly compared to comments others made — whether employed by teams or media or whoever.

Only then can a full picture of the broader dynamics be developed.

21 responses to “Bruce Allen emails include Adam Schefter seeking feedback on unpublished story

  1. “Allen had insisted in a sworn statement that he ‘maintained a low profile with respect to the media’ and that he ‘never served as an anonymous source for any news or media reports.'”

    Oops.

  2. The NFL is not the government, why do you feel they should have to disclose everything?

  3. He just wanted to let him know what story was going to be ran….and that his source was Nate.

  4. “not normal for reporters to send entire stories to a source for a review, a fact-check, a proofread”
    ——————-
    This sounds like a responsible thing.

  5. Great job by Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno! Both of those gentlemen are excellent reporters.

  6. than providing fans the most accurate, fair and complete story.”
    ———————-
    When has that ever happened?

  7. It’s standard operating procedure, normal and a best practice for reporters to show subjects of an article what’s about to be printed and give them the opportunity to affirm, dispute and clarify any facts. This only demonstrates that Schefter was operating like a true professional where virtually no one in Snyder’s office was!

  8. I don’t know, I don’t see the big deal with Schefter getting Allen’s opinion on an article. Of course, if the implication is that Allen can edit and change anything he wants, then that crosses a line, I’d say.

    But someone like Schefter needs to have chummy relationships all over the league in order to get inside stories. Maybe this was one way to build trust with Allen. It’s certainly not top class journalism, but we’re also talking about NFL news here.

  9. I think people are WAYYYYY too nosey. I could care less about most of this. I’ve said things in private texts or emails that I’d certainly not want made public. We all have.

  10. redlikethepig says:
    October 13, 2021 at 8:15 am
    I think we need to release everyone’s private emails and texts.
    ___________

    Gruden’s and Allen’s emails ARE NOT private. The emails were sent and received on Allen’s WFT email address, using his WFT computer. Company emails are not private.

  11. Anyone who thought Schefty was anything but a PR mouthpeice was living in a fantasy world!

    “Steelers’ OLB T.J. Watt overruled his agents who believed they could get more money today, marched into the office of Steelers president Art Rooney and told him they had a deal. Then the NFL’s new highest-paid defensive player excused himself and announced he had to go work out.”

    He tweeted that a month ago. The guy is good at getting breaking news 5 minutes before the team’s official twitter tweets it, but he is clearly beholden to his sources and puts out basically propaganda sometimes.

  12. “I think people are WAYYYYY too nosey. I could care less about most of this. I’ve said things in private texts or emails that I’d certainly not want made public. We all have.”

    I’m going to guess that the vast majority of folks have never made statements like those attributed to Gruden. Ever.
    As Aaron Rodgers said, “That s%&t don’t fly”.

  13. Interesting. Every newspaper I ever worked at considered allowing sources/subjects of the article to preview the entire thing in advance of publication to be highly unethical.

    Of course you always want to run key details by subjects and sources to give them a chance to respond and to ensure accuracy, but the idea of letting sources/subjects sculpt the entire article is pretty sketchy at best in a business in which everyone is trying to influence you/influence the narrative to their own benefit.

    The closest I ever came to that was when I was writing about something science-y, and I sent two paragraphs to an expert to make sure I was explaining it right.

  14. This is EXACTLY how news stories are produced folks. Journalism/independent main stream media died a loooooong time ago.

  15. How do people think that writers like Schefter have the access they do? Hint: it’s not by burning bridges/steamrolling/etc. It’s by remaining chummy. In fact, it’s almost certainly worse than this. Schefter has undoubtedly (allegedly, OK) been used many times–wittingly and unwittingly–to place stories that certain people wanted placed, whether or not they were true. This is the cost for access. I am not singling Schefter out, BTW. They all do this. The more access they have, the more likely it is they do this.

  16. This just proves what everyone already knows — Schefter is a lapdog for the NFL and its owners.

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