Credit: NFL Network

Every so often we’re reminded that ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport are really just better off sticking to breaking news.

The NFL insiders both have very thorny histories with inappropriate tweets and commentary that step outside the bounds of what a journalist might be expected to stay within. Normally, we’re chastising Shefter, who has built up a reputation for tone-deaf declarations, a stunning lack of sensitivity about important issues, and creating conflicts of interest.

Rapoport has his fair share of questionable choices as well. For instance, his framing of Pat Fitzgerald’s firing at Northwestern over hazing allegations earlier this year garnered a lot of flak.

On Sunday morning, Rapoport overstepped again with his X post regarding USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams. After LA Times reporter Ryan Kartje posted that Williams “elected not to speak to the media” following Saturday’s loss to UCLA, the NFL insider took a pretty clear shot at the college star.

“Joe Burrow learned his season was over on Friday, understood his responsibility, and went out and held a news conference. The job of a QB and face of the franchise” wrote Rapoport.

That’s a perfectly fine opinion for a football fan or Stephen A. Smith to offer. But given Rapoport is supposed to be a journalist, and one who covers football players specifically, that’s just a tad over the line.

Since Rapoport’s whole business is based on relationships with the people he covers, it seems pretty stupid to take a shot at a guy who will almost certainly be one of the top draft picks next year. Using Burrow as his example is also the kind of public butt-kissing that’s unbecoming of an impartial reporter. Not to mention that Burrow is a highly paid professional while Williams is still a college student, making the comparison suspect at best.

Given his job and the specific role that Rapoport serves for NFL Network, it’s also always worth considering why he would choose to present any personal opinion, and whether or not it’s actually a stand-in for someone else’s opinion.

All of that said, we’ve known for a while now that those who have mastered the “insider” role commonly set aside these kinds of ethical quandaries, be it in the name of selling one side’s story or hawking products as a pitchman. The same rules that apply to most sports reporters don’t seem to apply to them.

Nothing will come out of it, most likely. But the post left a bad taste in a lot of peoples’ mouths given Rapoport’s position and the unnecessary messaging about a guy that he’ll be covering in the years ahead.

[Ian Rapoport]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to