Who’s hungry for some fuckin’ sports media drama? What if I told you it involved one writer misquoting another and a sassy Bill Simmons tweet? Pull up a chair, friend, and get a plate of this hot beef.
It all started when The Nation’s Dave Zirin tweeted a shot at The Ringer’s resident Football Knower, Mike Lombardi, based on something Lombardi had supposedly said on a podcast about NFL prospect Josh Rosen:
It’s likely nothing much would have come of that tweet had it not been picked up by J.J. Watt, who joined in the grand tradition of NFL players dunking Lombardi into the trash:
But then Zirin deleted his tweet, and sent out a correction admitting that he had misquoted Lombardi:
Oh, shit, Dave fucked up! And guess who was mad at Dave:
This is high-grade beef, because everyone looks foolish. Zirin misquoting a guy is dumb and embarrassing, but what Lombardi actually said is also pretty dumb and embarrassing. On the podcast, host Tate Frazier asked Lombardi if Rosen had done anything at the combine to prove to people that he loves football and should be a top pick. Lombardi responded:
I don’t know if he did, Tate Frazier. I think, to me, what I’m hearing is that it was okay. I think he’s going to have to prove it. You know, he’s coming back saying he loves football—I talked to some people here, and he might like humanitarian work more than football. I don’t know. Nothing wrong with that, but I don’t know where his values really lie.
That might not be as self-evidently dumb as Zirin’s inaccurate quote, but it still amounts to a bunch of pointless handwringing over something unrelated to Josh Rosen’s skills as a football player. Who gives a shit if Mike Lombardi or any other GM don’t know where Rosen’s values lie? Why does Rosen have to “prove it” to a former GM who is constantly wrong, or any of the current GMs who routinely fuck up the draft?
Finally presented with the opportunity to defend the punching bag he employs—from the rhetorical high ground, no less—Simmons pounced.
“Do better”: always a sign of robust drama.