If you ran, say, a large sports media company, and one of your most prominent and well-compensated employees had spent recent months repeatedly making an ass of himself, embarrassing your other employees, and dragging down your company’s already sagging reputation, you might reasonably think, No, I do not think I will continue to employ this person.
Reader this is how I know you are not ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro, who today announced that the network had re-signed NFL Insider Adam Schefter to a multi-year deal, in what he called a “deliberate statement” about ESPN’s “commitment” to serving fans. A brief review of Schefter’s work over the past year should give you a pretty good idea of what this commitment looks like:
Maybe you’ll remember how Schefter hopped in bed with a sports gambling company and with Patriots owner Bob Kraft, whom Schefter ostensibly covers as an NFL reporter. Or when he admitted to sending an entire draft of a story to an NFL team president who he called “Mr. Editor.” Or when he advanced a grossly misleading report that cast an NFL player, who had been accused of horrific violence against his former girlfriend, as the real victim. And even if you don’t remember all that, you can rest assured that Schefter actually sucks at the basic mechanics of his job, which itself amounts to carrying water for owners and copy-and-pasting texts from agents and brands to get “scoops” whose useful life spans last all of six seconds. As Pitaro said, a “deliberate statement” indeed!
But I suppose a scoopster is only as valuable as their last scoop, and Schefter’s most recent big get before ESPN decided it just had to bring him back was … Tom Brady retiring from the NFL. Ah, well.