Ian Rapoport is quickly building his own personal Enemies List with some prominent NFL players over his reporting from deep inside NFL locker rooms.
Earlier this season, Ndamukong Suh tangled with Rapoport over a report citing his behavior and attitude in the Miami Dolphins locker room. Now, it’s two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time that have a bone to pick with the NFL Network insider – John Elway and Peyton Manning.
Sunday morning, Rapoport reported that Manning was not content to being Brock Osweiler’s understudy the rest of the season in Denver:
— NFL Media (@NFLMedia) December 20, 2015
That led Elway to respond directly as intimated above:
Peyton has never told Gary or myself that he doesn't want to be the backup. Any report or rumor that suggests otherwise is incorrect!!
— John Elway (@johnelway) December 20, 2015
ESPN.com Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold went straight to the source and sent out this quote from Manning:
I asked Peyton Manning on his way out of locker room if he had any response to a report this morning he had mad… https://t.co/RFysp3lPsf
— Jeff Legwold (@Jeff_Legwold) December 21, 2015
Legwold tweeted out a link that redirected to an ESPN.com page, swear word and all, which is perhaps why the URL no longer works. Thankfully though, PFT recorded the quote for posterity as well where Manning had some choice words for Rapoport:
“I asked Peyton Manning on his way out of locker room if he had any response to a report this morning he had mad [sic] Broncos aware he didn’t want to be a backup. His response; ‘it’s bullshit and it’s insulting.’ I asked if that was on the record he said; ‘yes, I can’t say it any plainer than that.’”
That’s quite the bombastic reaction from the usual staid and steady Manning. Perhaps it shows the true uncertainty and volatility in Denver, where nobody is really sure whether or not he’s going to come back this season and play for the Broncos, who are still in the midst of the AFC Championship hunt.
The key in all of this is that Rapoport has the goods in his reporting. And right now, it’s such a personal issue regarding Manning that it’s turned into a “he said, he said” situation and both sides are going to be firmly entrenched in their point of view. In some ways, it’s refreshing to see reporters being willing to rock even the fanciest and most famous of boats to report the information that they have. But if that’s going to be the case, and these kinds of waves are going to be created, it better be right.