Boston Herald Patriots beat writer John Tomase promised an apology — and an explanation — after it was revealed that his February 2 story about the Pats taping the Rams' walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI wasn't true. (The tape failed to materialize and never existed.) Boy, did he ever come through.
In what has to be one of the lengthiest mea culpas in journalism history, Tomase painstakingly revisits his process in putting the story together and then comes to the forgone conclusion that his main source had essentially pulled the story from deep inside their smoking rectum and handed it over to him.
What can you say to all of those Pats fans and Herald readers who've been vituperatively protesting the piece since it first ran? Well this:
What happens from here? I intend to continue covering the Patriots to the best of my abilities, and that means pursuing every storyline, good or bad. I have relationships to mend within the organization and with my readers. The process of regaining your trust will not be an easy one.
At the end of the day, I’m human, and humans make mistakes. Mine happened to be very significant and very public, and it’s something that will always be with me.
I’m confident it will make me a better reporter. Last year, Patriots safety Rodney Harrison [stats] pulled me aside to discuss a story he believed had unfairly attacked him. He felt it had gotten personal and wanted me to put myself in his shoes.
I thought I knew where he was coming from, but in reality I didn’t. Now I do. This perspective will only help moving forward.
I take immense pride in what I do and the paper I work for. I truly believe it’s a privilege to serve as a link between the fans and their team.
On Feb. 2, I let you all down. Today I hope to begin the long road back.
Based on the 250+ comments that have been written so far in reaction to the story, he's still got a few thousand miles to go on that road. We'll see how long Tomase can deal with comments like these after each story he writes: "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah....didn't even bother reading, Tomase. It's probably chock-full of BS anyway. "
Good luck with that.
Tomase's Explanation [Boston Herald]