Adam Schefter in 2020.

The same trove of emails that revealed Jon Gruden’s racist/homophobic/misogynistic history has delivered us a second news cycle dominating story in less than a week.

This time it’s once again related to old emails, and once again related to someone employed at ESPN contacting then-Washington executive Bruce Allen. According to Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno’s reporting for the Los Angeles Times, Adam Schefter displayed an incredibly informal relationship with Allen, including submitting an entire story for Allen’s approval and calling Allen “Mr. Editor.”

From the Times:

Several emails between Allen and journalists are part of the filing too. In one of them from July 2011, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter sent Allen the draft of an unpublished story that was published later the same day.

“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 ….”

Wow, that kind of bombshell about ESPN’s top NFL reporter being potentially compromised surely sent shockwaves through Bristol! Let’s see their comment on the story, presumably disavowing Schefter’s practices:

ESPN released the following statement in response to the correspondence: “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.”

Nope, none of those things. If you’re wondering why: it’s because there’s no way Adam Schefter has his career at ESPN without ESPN knowing exactly what Schefter does (much less reporting than brokering information) and how he does it (stuff like this.)

That’s not judging it either way, although many people have and have made great points.

Other people, meanwhile, are Darren Rovell.

A lot of the outcry has come from actual journalists who adhere to ethical professional practices. It makes sense they’d be pissed! This news erodes trust in their work.

ESPN, meanwhile, is sort of eating some shit for the second time in a week with this story, although the fact that Gruden was at ESPN when he sent the emails that led to his firing in Las Vegas has been a bit more diminished in the narrative than you’d maybe expect. ESPN’s parade of shows have obviously covered the Gruden story, but rarely has the point that Gruden was in the Monday Night Football booth back then been a talking point.

Giving what amounts to a statement of support for Schefter on the record to the Times feels a lot like they’re just hoping this goes away rather than react with any moves that would draw attention to the story. Snuffing it out by depriving it of ESPN’s own oxygen. It might work, too.

[Los Angeles Times]

UPDATE: Schefter addressed the situation on Philadelphia radio station 97.5 The Fanatic, which we’ll include here:

“Yeah, I would just say this John. I’ve learned for a long time in this business not to discuss sources, or the process, or how stories are done, but I would just say that, basically, it’s a common practice to run information past sources, and in this particular case, during a labor intensive lockout that was a complicated subject that was new to understand, I took the extra rare step again to run information past one of the people that I was talking to. You know, it was an important story to fans; a host of others, and that’s the situation.”

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.