When Dwayne Haskins passed away on Saturday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter became part of the story when he referred to the former Ohio State quarterback as “struggling to catch on” in the NFL when sharing news of his death.
The unnecessary framing led to an intense backlash against Schefter, not just from NFL fans but also from players and the Ohio State community. Schefter deleted the tweet and re-shared the news, but the damage was done. The NFL insider went silent on the topic on Sunday but apologized publicly on his podcast, which was posted on Monday.
An apology and a tribute to Dwayne Haskins. pic.twitter.com/QxjShC4ZYu
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 11, 2022
“It was insensitive, it was a mistake, and I can assure you is not my intention,” Schefter said on his podcast. “I wish I could have that tweet back. The focus should have been on Dwayne, who he was as a person, a husband, a friend and so much more. I wanted to apologize to Dwayne’s family, his friends, the players in the National Football League and offer my condolences to everybody close to Dwayne.”
Given that this was just the latest in a series of unforced errors and gaffes by ESPN’s top NFL reporter, it kickstarted a conversation around why this keeps happening and what ESPN thinks about it.
Schefter appears every Wednesday on 97.1 The Fan’s Rothman & Ice show in Columbus, Ohio but he ended up making a special appearance on Tuesday this week. Given the negative reaction to Schefter’s tweet and the perception by some that he waited too long to apologize for it, there was likely a desire to speak directly to the Ohio State fans listening in given Haskins’ connection.
The conversation begins at the 64:35 mark below.
“It was a mistake on my part. It was not my intent in any way, shape, or form. I wish I could have the tweet back. I can’t, unfortunately,” Schefter told hosts Anthony Rothman & Matty “Ice” Hayes on Tuesday. “That’s why I deleted it and reposted it as soon as I realized. The focus should have been on Dwayne, who he was as a person, as a husband, a friend, more. And like I said, I apologize to his family, his friends, everyone in the NFL, Ohio State.”
“There was zero intent and I’m sorry that that detracted from talking about the man who lost his life. That was the story. The fact that I would become a part of it is very disappointing to me.”
When asked why he sent the initial tweet the way that he did, Schefter just wanted to stick to the apology.
“Again, it was a mistake,” said Schefter. “I was working with the various people that morning. I was aware of it. I should have corrected it, and didn’t. Made a mistake, Anthony.”
One of the lingering questions that some had was why Schefter waited two days to apologize for the initial tweet and if he considered apologizing sooner.
“What happened was, I talked to various people and I was uncomfortable being any part of this story,” said Schefter. “By doing that then, that day when it was so fresh, it didn’t feel right to me at that time. So we talked, and I had determined that I was gonna do it on Monday during my podcast. We recorded it during the day, it came out later in the day. That was the situation.
“I apologized that day to numerous people behind the scenes. Numerous people. I didn’t feel that I needed to do everything publicly. But again, I wish I could have it back. It was a mistake. It was not my intention. It was insensitive. I recognized it. And we learned from that.”
When asked if he had spoken directly to Haskins’ family, Schefter demured.
“I spoke to a lot of people behind the scenes,” said Schefter. “And apologized to a lot of people. I made it very clear to a lot of people.”
As for whether or not those he personally reached out to were happy to hear from, Schefter said that at least some of them appreciated it.
“It certainly sounded that way when I spoke to some of them,” said Schefter. “I’m sure some people are very angry. I understand that. It was a mistake. That’s their right. I understand that.”
Given the public reaction to the tweet by various NFL players, including Lamar Jackson, Dez Bryant, and Jakobi Meyers, does Schefter worry that players and athletes won’t want to speak with him in the future?
“I would hope not, but we’ll find out over time,” said Schefter. “And if they choose to not speak to me over this, that would be a decision that they would make and we’ll see.”
Towards the end of the interview, Rothman circled back to the deleted tweet and asked Schefter about what his intent might have been and whether or not it was simply an attempt at adding context that went wrong. Schefter sounded as though he was frustrated by the question and responded with a rehash of his initial answers.
“Anthony. I was insensitive. I made a mistake. Okay? I made a mistake. And I apologize. And I feel bad about it. And I felt bad about it all weekend.”