Patriots' QB Mac Jones in January 2024. Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) arrives to a press conference held at Gillette Stadium to announce the team’s hiring of new head coach Jerod Mayo (not pictured). Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

More and more professional sports teams employ their own in-house writers these days, and that makes sense for them on a lot of levels. It also makes sense for those writers to cover news about the team, even when that’s only at the level of reports elsewhere. But that can get awkward on social media platforms like Twitter/X.

That’s particularly true when the team account seemingly uses an autofeed to tweet headlines on their website. That can make it seem like the team itself is late to news about it. And the latest case of that is with the New England Patriots. That was seen in their coverage of ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s report Sunday that they’re planning to trade quarterback Mac Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars:

The website story here, from writer Mike Dussalt (who’s been working there since 2019, and previously wrote about the team for his Pats Propaganda blog and the NFL for Bleacher Report), is quite reasonable. It prominently includes Schefter’s report near the start, and is mostly focused on analysis of Jones’ career and where the organization could go from there. It also includes the team’s standard “DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect those of the organization” at the end, with a link to a full disclaimer. Here’s some of that full disclaimer:

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the New England Patriots organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors’ views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Patriots officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

That’s a logical and clear delineation. And between that and Dussault’s citation of Schefter, it’s quite clear he’s not trying to report the Jones trade himself, but rather analyze what it means for Jones and the team in the wake of that report. But that context got lost in an autofeed tweet of that headline, leading to many mocking the Patriots:

Some others took this as “official,” even though it clearly wasn’t:

Some of the pushback here is understandable, especially as team Twitter accounts do often announce when moves are official. And there have been past cases of team accounts mocking people for not realizing when tweets are official announcements:

This could have easily avoided the questioning and mockery, though. The simplest tack there would have been just not to tweet this article from @Patriots. But a tweet still would have worked with more context spelling out that this was a writer analyzing Schefter’s report rather than an official announcement or a team writer trying to break news. This didn’t go that way, though, and that led to some of that pushback seen above. And there’s maybe something worth considering there in future for not just the Patriots, but many teams, in terms of how to present in-house writers’ takes on reports on social media.

[@Patriots on Twitter/X]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.