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Adam Schefter of ESPN says running Bruce Allen's complete story was a step too far

Adam Schefter of ESPN says running Bruce Allen's complete story was a step too far

ESPNs Adam Schefter issued a statement on Wednesday in which he expressed regret for providing an NFL executive with omissions in the full story.

Schefters 2011 e-mail to former Washington team president Bruce Allen, revealed in a June court filing, was critical of Schefer for committing what some regarded as sexist conduct.

Schefter said he chose to publish his story, co-written with ESPNs Chris Mortensen, past Allen because it involved the complicated subject of a new NFL collective bargaining agreement that was nearing completion.

Schefter said in a statement that was published on ESPN PR's Twitter account, which has 8.5 million followers less than his personal account. "It was... obscene and, looking back, I shouldn't have done it," he added.

The 54-year-old reporter, who has been with ESPN since 2009, is arguably the most influential newscaster on the NFL. He stated in his statement that "it's a common practice to run information past sources."

Jon Gruden's career is over. When will Dan Snyder and the NFL, for that matter get what they deserve?

Schefter, on the other hand, criticized Allen for going past checking on a certain fact or stating rumor. Showing a source an entire story and asking for feedback on anything that should be added, changed, tweaked, as Schefter did in the e-mail to Allen, is not considered acceptable by news operations.

What many found particularly striking was Schefters use of Allen as Mr. Editor. That suggested a league executive could exercise control over if it wanted to publish he/she summarized stalemate between two parties with opposing interests.

Schefter stated in his statement that the criticism being offered is legitimate. With that said, I want to make it clear: I never, ever would I, give editorial control or give anyone final say on a story.

Allen, who was fired by Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder in December 2019, could not be reached for comment.

Schefters e-mail to Allen appeared in a court filing related to ninja lawsuit by Snyder, in which he claimed that an India-based website defamed him by linking him without evidence to sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. Snyders legal maneuvering became a target when the WFT owner attempted to persuade his longtime right-hand man to disclose communications that might indicate Allen was able to provide journalists with information.

Snyders legal team stated in a June court filing that Allen has 'a long history of using the public media to advance his own agenda against anyone adverse to him', which is exactly what is at issue in the Indian Action for which Petitioner seeks discovery.

E-mails to and from Allen involving other media members, including reporters for The Washington Post checking on specific pieces of information or arranging interviews, were also included in the court filing.

Allen received an e-mail from Jon Gruden, with whom he had worked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and who at the time was an ESPN Monday Night Football analyst while the 2011 CBA negotiations were advancing. Gruden used racist language while belittling NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith in the e-mail. Gruden, who left ESPN in 2018 to become the Las Vegas Raiders' head coach, apologized last week, but stated he had never had a blade of racism in him.

After more e-mails to Allen and others sent over a number of years emerged, Gruden resigned from the Raiders on Monday. Gruden addressed homophobia and misogyny in their speeches, including while ridiculizing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Gruden said Monday that he loves the Raiders and does not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. Im sorry, I didnt intend to hurt anyone.

The release of some of Gruden's e-mails is linked to an investigation into claims that Washington created a work environment that included sexual harassment. The NFL said Tuesday that it does not intend to make public any more material from its investigation, which was initiated by Snyder and concluded in July with the owner receiving a $10 million fine. Snyder also ceded day-to-day management of the team to his wife, Tanya Snyder.

ESPN stood by Schefter, saying, While we dont disclose all the details of the reporters process for a story from ten years ago during the NFL lockout, we believe that nothing is more important to Adam and ESPN than presenting fans the most accurate, fair, and complete story possible.

Jemele Hill, a former ESPN personality and SportsCenter host, said earlier Wednesday that she was disappointed in Schefters decision to seek Allen input on 'a completed story.

Ive been a journalist for over 20 years. Hill, who is now with The Atlantic, wrote on Twitter that she hasnt let a source proofread, preview, or edit any piece. Most journalists I know haven't done this before. That is a massive journalistic NO-NO. That is not how it is done for young journalists. Ever.

Schefter made a statement to ESPN PR hours before his official statement was released, defending his interaction with Allen on Philadelphia's 97.5 The Fanatic radio station.

Ive learned for a long time in this industry not to discuss sources, or the process, nor how stories are told. But Id simply say that its a common practice to run data past sources, Schefter said. "And in this particular case, during a labor-intensive lockout that was involving complexities that were new to understand, I took the extra-rare step of passing information through one of the people I was talking to.

You know, it was a huge story for fans, dozens of others, and thats the situation, said Sherwood.

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