You know, there’s enough to not like about Jameis Winston without pulling wild rumors out of thin air. The latest controversy that isn’t based in reality? Winston allegedly shaved points during the first half of the Florida State-Louisville game last week.
The “story” was first “reported” by an internet gambling writer who has been exposed on multiple occasions. Then Clay Travis decided to run with the story at Fox Sports and give national credence and publicity to the rumor and all hell broke loose. TMZ Sports then ran the story this morning and here we are – a ridiculous story about Jameis Winston is now firmly in the public eye.
Fox Sports provided no additional sourcing or reporting to actually try to discover the truth of the story, merely saying “HEY, THIS IS A THING THAT’S OUT THERE!” Even worse, TMZ provided no link to the original story, or questions about its origin, only saying that there were “reports” of Winston’s point shavings and giving them some semblance of legitimacy.
Perhaps crazier, Travis even tweeted a link out to his story and said he didn’t believe it. So… why even write about it, then? Shouldn’t there be some sort of editorial control here?
This story is everywhere online. Personally I don't believe Winston could be this stupid over $5k. http://t.co/We1Tp77CNY
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 6, 2014
A year ago, a similar gambling-related story popped up about Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, which Boyd and head coach Dabo Swinney were forced to debunk after a reporter asked about it.
I’m more confused that major outlets like Fox feel the need to run stories like this. When sourcing for a topic is this dubious, is the need to raise your hand and jump around screaming “FIRST!” more important than making sure there’s actually something to a potentially crushing and even criminal story? But that’s just the world we live in – take a crazy story, slap a polarizing athlete’s name on it, publish it, and watch the pageviews roll in.