Was Mark Konkol lied to, or did the Bears change their plans?

Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions
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A decade ago, Mark Konkol won a Pulitzer. He won’t be in line for another after his report from earlier this week.

In a new item for Patch.com, Konkol acknowledges that his report that the Bears will fire coach Matt Nagy after Thursday’s game at Detroit was wrong. Konkol attributes the outcome to two possible explanations.

One, he got “bamboozled by a trusted source.” Two, something changed after the news of Nagy’s looming firing was leaked.

It wouldn’t be the first time that either has occurred. Although it doesn’t happen 11 of 12 times, reporters often get lied to — and they sometimes pass those lies along without proper scrutiny or skepticism. Also, the mere emergence of a controversial report can cause a weak-kneed organization to wobble and waver and ultimately wander from its plan.

The Bears didn’t help matters by letting Konkol’s story bake for multiple hours before serving up Nagy to say it’s not accurate.  The official silence on a matter that could have been easily refuted fueled speculation that Konkol’s report may have been accurate.

As Konkol now writes, “When I offered the Bears a chance to officially say the information wasn’t true, I got snarky answers rather than straight ones.” Konkol also reiterates that a “trusted source in a position to know confidently told me Nagy would not be the head coach after Thursday’s game.”

Konkol also acknowledges that he deserves some blame, if he indeed passed along a lie: “If my source fed me bad information about Nagy, I should have done better, much in the way the Bears should have done better.”

If Konkol got bad information from his source, he should be demanding answers from that source and sharing them. Then again, now that the source has proven to be untrustworthy, Konkol probably should ignore whatever excuse the source may offer now.

And so Konkol will do the only thing he can do, since outing the source who lied to him isn’t an option. (Some would say it should be.) Like those to whom someone lied in early 2015 about underinflated footballs, sparking the reporting that turned a mild curiosity into a full-blown hashtag, the reporter ends up publicly wearing the scarlet letter — even if the reporter was simply the victim of a “fool me once” ruse.

26 responses to “Was Mark Konkol lied to, or did the Bears change their plans?

  1. If the source lied and can’t give a good excuse, out them for the dirt bag that they are. People would stop leaking false stories then if they know they are going to be exposed.
    Your confidentiality is not preserved if you give bad info.

  2. The one thing this has done is outed for the whole world how extraordinary broken the Bears organization is from top to bottom. It’s also pretty clear that nobody who is reporting on the Bears on the regular has any clue what’s really going on, so if spin and disinformation are the measuring stick, then whoever it is that’s really pulling the strings in Halas Hall is doing Hall of Fame caliber work.

  3. There is still time to fire him – right?

    Maybe Ryan Pace is just busy at the Walmart Black Friday melee.

    First things first.

  4. _ says:
    If the source lied and can’t give a good excuse, out them for the dirt bag that they are.

    You, probably influenced by this article, are assuming the writer was lied to.
    As someone with personal experience in this arena it’s more likely the source was telling the truth, at least as he or she knew it.
    It’s very common for a source to provide a reporter with inside information. The reporter does his or her job, but after the information is disseminated — either sooner than ownership wanted because it isn’t quite ready to make a move, or after ownership realizes it’s going to look bad — it changes or delays its plans and denies everything.
    The front office reverses field and lies, the source can’t come forward without being exposed, and the reporter doesn’t want to burn the source and is left holdng the bag. It comes with the territory, and it happens far more often than most people know or think.

  5. It was just a head’s up to Nagy & the team if you lose to a winless team, you’re done. There, there’s the article.

  6. Theory: The NFL is scripted like WWF. The Lions were supposed to get their first W of the season on Thanksgiving.

  7. Being fired “after Thursday’s game” could mean Thursday night, Friday, next week, next month or any moment after Thursday’s game.
    Clearly, unless there is a monumental turn-around, Nagy will be fired…and it will come “after Thursday’s game”.

  8. Is it possible that Bears ownership intentionally fed disinformation to whoever Konkol’s source was in order to identify his source within the organization? It’s a convoluted way to go about business, but if they wanted to eliminate a journalist’s source of inside info, this is a way to do it.

    Of course, it’s also extra embarrassing for Matt Nagy this way but I doubt ownership cares that much.

  9. This is what owners should always say concerning firings and changes: “At this moment in time, the plan is to to stay the course and whenever I/we decide to make a change, I/we will make an announcement.” Just always say that.

  10. Forgot a 3rd option, he lied. It’s a good guess but it wouldn’t be the first time media completely fabricates something.

  11. Could the source be Jay Glazer or Scheffter? Both of those guys lie and are wrong all the time.

  12. The whole “there are only two possibilities” line is wrong. It’s a deliberate ploy to direct the narrative and to exclude exploration of other options that are unpleasant or embarrassing.

    One other possibility was that the source was fed a line by somebody who inflated what he knew beyond the actual facts.

    Another possibility would be that the source inflated what he knew or drew conclusions that weren’t there.

    Or, the reporter inflated or misunderstood what he was told and drew conclusions that weren’t there.

    None of these involve deliberate lying or anyone changing their mind. They are just mistakes or poor judgement that no one wants to acknowledge – until they are caught with hard evidence.

  13. Or the guy shouldn’t have “leaked” his story about a man losing his job to millions, forcing ownership to be respectful of an employee and not firing him.

  14. I have no sympathy for this guy trying to be the first person to report someone else is losing their job.

  15. This is why I’ve said many times that the 1st Amendment needs to be cleaned up. No more quoting anonymous sources, people close to the situation, allowing someone to speak off the record, but still be quoted for publication, etc. None of this would’ve occurred if Konkol was required by the constitution to name who his source was. Was it Pace? Was it Phillips? Or was it Virginia or George? It’s very obvious that many of these articles stemming from unnamed source are simply the product of the writer’s unchecked imagination.

  16. The McCaskeys are incompetent owners but to think that they told Nagy hey pal you’re fired but we need you to work thanksgiving first seems a little far fetched

  17. It is just as sleazy to report leaked information as it is to leak false information.

    Are we wondering how someone who goes behind his co-workers backs to spread bad things about them to hurt a coworker and promote their careers can’t be trusted?

  18. If I were the owner or GM, anyone discovered leaking information to the media would be fired for cause.

  19. Maybe the source was someone in the front office who doesn’t like Nagy and wants him fired but doesn’t have much influence in the organization, and wanted to stir things up to get him fired.

  20. Not that I care much at all.. clearly it was in the Bears best interest to deny and debunk..

    No player is going to play hard for a coach they know is 24 hours away from leaving their lives.

    The story leaked and it changed reality. The Bears didn’t want to lose to the Lions.. they had to double back and say “false story”

    Either way I don’t care.. the Bears aren’t winning the Super Bowl anytime soon.

  21. Or perhaps there is a 3rd option? That Konkol, a non Bears reporter w/ few if any contacts in pro sports and whom is not well liked by his peers simply reported something w/ little to no effort?
    Are the Bears expected to respond from say “Bob from Arlington Hts” when he calls into the Score and says Nagy will be fired?
    Literally begging the ?. The media creates this and runs w/ a false story and then requests the Bears respond? Why should they? Why would the Bears call Nagy and reassure him b/c a Patch reporter closer to HS sports reported he was being fire? How would anyone even be aware of Konkol’s story. And now the conspiracy theories set out. People, Get Better.

  22. The problem isn’t anonymous sources or reporters, this was just an unusual situation and the Bears changed course (most likely) when the story got out.

    Without anonymous sources we wouldn’t have had Watergate or many other misdeeds exposed to the public. So in this one instance it didn’t work out. No big deal.

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