Skip to contents
Media Meltdowns

Why Did Adam Schefter Say “Clean Sweep” Like This?

Image: ESPN

The way that scoophounds bend the English language while reporting basic sports news inspires hushed awe. It’s my own fault for lingering on these transient dispatches for any longer than the 30 seconds that they otherwise take to pass through the newsfeeds of normal people, but each day produces a beautifully lobotomized phrase to latch onto and make immortal. The latest example comes from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who recently abandoned his last pretense of doing journalism, only to find himself straining for his Most Serious News Anchor cadence as he shared news about Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s resignation Monday night.

With all the gravitas he could muster, Schefter gave the world this unforgettable usage of “clean sweep.” The Elias Sports Bureau will need to confirm that Gruden’s achievement is the first of its kind in the NFL:

As friend of the site Emma Baccellieri pointed out, this phrasing appears to reveal some canon of protected classes in Schefter’s head: women, gays, minorities, Roger Goodell. The full breadth of humanity, right there.

Lowly bloggers might simply summarize the New York Times‘ reporting on Gruden’s disgusting emails in a fashion that clearly expresses the contents of those emails, and does not introduce a confusing new framework for enumerating prejudices. But if you’re the kind of reporter who teases a positive COVID-19 test like a brewing three-team trade, you’re always out there innovating. Eggs come in dozens; beer comes in sixes; bigotry comes in clean sweeps. This is now convention.