Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Coy Signals About NFL Trade Rumors Don't Serve Anyone

Photo: Gregory Shamus (Getty)

If you are an NFL fan who has spent any amount of time looking at Twitter over the last few days, you have surely been exposed to some amount of chatter about vague rumors concerning something that the Cleveland Browns are about to do. There was probably an emoji involved. Things really heated up, though, when a few Browns players started sending cryptic tweets:

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These tweets cleared the way for enterprising media members to get in on the game, not by doing any amount of reporting or relaying useful information to fans and readers, but by signaling that they also know things:

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A good question to ask whenever reporters and analysts tease information like this is: Who is this serving? It certainly doesn’t give fans any solid information, and it doesn’t even go so far as to reveal what the rumors are for the sake of transparency. If you’re going to coyly tweet about explosive rumors you are hearing, the very least you can do is provide the service of being specific about what those rumors are. Otherwise, all you’re doing is demonstrating to people how sourced-up and connected you are without risking a future revelation that you are not, in fact, sourced-up and connected.

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Thankfully, there was one reporter willing to inject some specifics into the rumor mill:

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Allbright has something of a dubious history when it comes to reporting information that later gets denied, but he deserves credit here for being willing to tell people what he’s heard.

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So far, none of the NFL media’s heavy hitters have touched this story, which doesn’t mean that the Browns don’t have anything in the works, but it does mean that any rumors floating around right now are just that. If a scoop about a Browns trade materializes in the next few days, it will be because a reporter did the hard work of getting and confirming the story. When that happens, guys like Andrew Hawkins and Matt Miller will be able to gloat about how they were on top of the story first. And if nothing ends up happening? Well, they won’t be at risk of receiving any backlash. After all, they never revealed any falsifiable information. They were just hearing rumors.

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