Many of you know that I am not a professional journalist. However, even I can figure out whether something is newsworthy. The whole notion that someone on twitter says something so I will report it is ludicrous. It is not journalism. Today, this was taken to all new heights. Let’s go through the background so you understand how crazy this is.
At 8:47 a.m. this morning, a guy named Adam Caplan (@caplannfl), from Poppieville, PA send out the following tweet:
Rams won't be using the franchise tag on WR Danny Amendola, but are considering other options in order to keep him.
The next tweet from Mr. Caplan was:
Funny/rediculous rumor is that they are considering using the transition tag ($5.194 M) for him as a TE.
I will readily acknowledge that Mr. Caplan did nothing wrong. Aren’t we all free to say what we want on twitter? If I later learn that Mr. Caplan wants to be thought of as a serious journalist, then I will take exception to his tweets. However, for now, I will assume he is the standard radio sports talk jock who will say anything to get attention. In this case he admitted that the "rumor" was rediculous (actually spelled ridiculous).
Unfortunately, journalism being what it is today, Mike Florio decided to take this and run with it. Mike Florio is writer I respect, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make a mistake. At 9:15 @ProFootballTalk sent the following tweet:
Rams are “considering other options” for Danny Amendola, including a potentially crazy one, via @caplannfl, http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/03/04/rams-plans-for-amendola-arent-clear/
Let’s stop here and review. A guy sitting in Poppieville, PA sends out a random tweet, which even he admits is ridiculous. Is there any reason to believe that he has an inside source? He did not claim an inside source. Instead, he clearly indicated that he heard a rumor. From whom, is my question. If my crazy Aunt Sally told me something, is that worth reporting?
As an amateur journalist, my first question was “I wonder if Mike Florio called anyone to see if this rumor was even possible.” I sent him a tweet, and, not surprisingly, he did not respond. I tried to look it up on the internet and could not find the actual rule. Instead, I rather easily found the number for the NFLPA and called them. This took all of two minutes. Mike Florio had 28 minutes between the time he could have seen the tweet from @caplannfl and the time that he posted his article on twitter.
Once Mike Florio posted his article, others picked it up. I found out about this entire story because I saw an article posted on Turf Show Times. I like the guys at Turf Show Times, but I call things as a see them. This is the state of journalism today. Random guy says something on twitter. Legit reporter writes an article about it and then it spreads like wild flowers.
So, what did I learn from the NFLPA? Within minutes, I got an e-mail attaching the CBA. To be safe, I read all relevant or potentially relevant provisions in the CBA. Any person interested in the truth, could have read this and determined that the “rumor” appears to be factually impossible.
The Rams could not tender Danny Amendola anything based on him as a tight end. Danny Amendola played the overwhelming majority of his plays at wide receiver. I am unaware of single time, he lined up as a tight end. [For any blogger out there, I am not reporting that he did or didn’t. I am simply suggesting that I am unaware of the actual facts].
Given that Danny Amendola played the majority of his snaps at wide receiver, he must be tendered a contract based on “the position (within the categories set forth in Section 7(a) below) at which the Transition Player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year.” Article 10, Section 4(a) of the CBA. Yes, I actually read Section 7(a). The wide receiver position is a separate category from tight end.
I will also mention that the Rams are not entitled to name Danny Amendola a transition player any time they want. The 2013 year begins on March 12, 2013. According to the CBA, they have from February 19, 2013 until 4:00 p.m. on March 4, 2013 to name him a transition player. Thus, if Mr. Caplan or Mike Florio actually desired to report news (not rumors), they could have waited until 4:00 p.m. today to see if the Rams even named Danny Amendola a transition player. Of course, they did not wait. If I were you, I would ask them why?
For now, I am done with this subject. I apologize for my strong opinion, but I believe I am entilled to an opinion. I will continue to read Mike Florio , but now I realize that he is willing to report “rumors” that do not pass the smell test purely for the sake of creating buzz. This takes him down a notch in my book.
Updated 12:57 p.m.
@therebirth Factually accurate article but one that could have only been written by a lawyer. (I'm a lawyer too.) : )
Thank you @justrvb for the commentary. I honestly enjoy a good discussion. It appears we have a disagreement, which is fine. I am all for a good debate. With respect to you taking issue with my intent behind the article, I think I know my intent better than anyone else. Whether you believe me or not, the point is the same. You took issue with me not doing any background research on Caplan. (Which, by the way is on all on his twitter profile.) I took issue with Caplan not doing any background research on his "rumor". Florio then picked it up without doing any background research. You picked it up without doing any background research. You then criticize me for not doing any background research. Do you see the irony? Even a little?
What if the man who bills himself as a man "specializing on contracts, personnel and other pertinent information, Caplan also is one of the foremost authorities on NFL injuries" wrote an article as follows:
I heard a rumor ...
The rumor is impossible and here is why ...
He would have obtained the attention he wanted. He also would have educated the public on his "speciality" knowledge of contracts. I don't know, seems like a much better approach then a lazy tweet that is ludicrous and, yes, legally impossible.
@TurfShowTimes My favorite line "Mike Florio is writer I respect, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make a mistake"
@therebirth fatal flaw "However, for now, I will assume he is the standard radio sports talk jock who will say anything to get attention."
I put the comment regarding Adam Caplan in the article, solely to see I'd people would take the bait, and they did. I am utterly amazed that people do not get the irony. My entire post was based on people's failure to do any fact checking before thy wrote an article or posted a blog. Let's start with Caplan. He has 12 years experience covering the NFL and claims to have special knowledge of contracts. So, did he add any inside information about the CBA or contracts in his tweets, no. He reported a rumor and failed to indicate why we should give the rumor any credence. He relied on his reputation alone, and I think his reputation should take a hit for that. Then, Mike Florio picked up the tweet and reported it as news, based entirely on Caplan's reputation. That apparently is all that journalism is today. You scroll through twitter and look for crazy comments from respected people. You then write about and people read it because it is so crazy. Everyone gets hits and no one is harmed? Well, except maybe the reader, who literally wasted his time reading your article about a tweet that was legally impossible and factually wrong (Amendola) not even tendered in the first place. Then Turf Show Times does what all blogs do. They pick up stories from crecible sources and blog about them. As I said in the article, I really like Turf Show Times. I think they normally have great content, and certainly thy are a great source for Rams fans. Maybe, I am expecting too much, but I was disappointed to see them pick up this story. I was really hoping they were moving towards something more; real journalism. A blog is one thing. Real reporting is another thing. So everyone above failed to do any background check whatsoever on the story. Instead they acted like high school students reporting a rumor. I thought it would be interesting to give them a carrot and see if they take it. I acted like I knew nothing about Adam Caplan, partially as a jab at him, but also to see if anyone would have the nerve to criticize me for .... can you guess ... failing to do any background checking. Please take a look at all of the criticism of my post. What do you see? People are complaining that I didn't do my research on Caplan. Do they really not get that was my point in the first place. No one did any research on Caplan's tweet. Oh, the irony.
@therebirth this is amateur stuff, nobody believes this, and it sounds like excuse making when someone gets caught in mistake:
" I acted like I knew nothing about Adam Caplan, partially as a jab at him, but also to see if anyone would have the nerve to criticize me for .... can you guess ... failing to do any background checking. Please take a look at all of the criticism of my post. What do you see? People are complaining that I didn't do my research on Caplan. Do they really not get that was my point in the first place. No one did any research on Caplan's tweet. Oh, the irony."
@therebirth You ought to be responding with an apology. You blasted people's credibility while saying this: "However, for now, I will assume he is the standard radio sports talk jock who will say anything to get attention."
Do you not see the problem here?
Even Albert Breer noted that there was something to the rumor.
As for the TE tagging, unlikely? Yes, and that was pointed out in subsequent tweets by Caplan and by PFT, TST, etc. Which is VASTLY different from what your implying here.
Is the TE tagging impossible? No. You're failing to understand that teams, players, agents, the union and the league are constantly trying to stretch the CBA.
Like I said before, you have a point about responsibility on Twitter, but you misfired badly on this one, making yourself look bad in the process.
@therebirth utterly ridiculous post. Your premise is horribly flawed. try this thing called google and put Adam Caplan's name in there
@JasonLaCanfora is that really the standard today. Report based on reputation rather than doing journalism and checking the facts.
@JasonLaCanfora my premise is flawed, or Adam Caplan rumor was horribly flawed and legally impossible. I googled him, he is a reporter.
@therebirth Caplan is a national NFL reporter who breaks a lot of news. that's not a random tweet from some dude in suburban PA
@JasonLaCanfora I thought journalism was something more than reporting a rumor from twitter that is legally impossible.
@JasonLaCanfora so his reputation alone makes it a story. That is fine. I am disappointed as a reader that journalist do not offer more.
Couple thoughts on the issue here. First, as Will pointed out, Adam Caplan isn't just some radio DJ. I'm loath to use the term "insider," but that's what Caplan is.
(Also, a couple hours after this came out, Albert Breer with the NFL Network, said this https://twitter.com/AlbertBreer/status/308639046182240256, that there could be something to this).
All of the parties you mention here are well-versed in the CBA, especially Florio. Caplan, Florio, & TST are all pretty explicit in how the idea of transition tagging Amendola as a tight end would raise a fight over the interpretation of the CBA, likely one that the player would win. Nevertheless, it's not at all unprecedented for teams/union/league to push and pull the CBA in different directions. It's a living legal document, subject to changing interpretations. That was spelled out in the three places you mention where the Amendola talk appeared.
Your argument here is off the mark because you overlooked those facts, in no small part because you too made an assumption. As you said above:
"However, for now, I will assume he is the standard radio sports talk jock who will say anything to get attention."
The veracity and credibility of media figures is easier to determine than you think.
That said, the larger issue you raise is on point: there is a certain responsibility we all share in how we report, relay and discuss "rumors." While in this case, it's off the mark, we're about to get a heavy lesson in it starting Saturday, when the new three-day negotiating window between teams and outside free agents open.
Caplan, Breer, Schefter, etc. will all report things like "Hearing Rams are interested in/talking to/negotiating with/requesting a visit/etc. with player x." Those guys aren't immune from mistakes, but are credible reporters. When they say something we can usually take it to mean that there's a little fire with the smoke.
The difference in what Caplan et al do versus someone like a "shock jock" on the morning drive or Incarcerated Bob is that they don't report things lacking some basis, i.e. Caplan, Breer, etc. don't report something based on what they read on a message board or even just pulled out of thin air.
@therebirth Just saw your post, PP. I enjoyed it very much. (FWIW, I'd take Adam Caplan over Florio.)
@therebirth @ShaneGmoSTLRams @StullySTL good stuff paul--I used 2 do similar analyses on the CBA, but they didn't do as well as "soft" stuff
@therebirth @lancasbg and i know that the TST guys were simply passing along the rumor as caplan is well-respected in the business
Just so it's out there. Adam Caplan is a twelve-year veteran reporting on the NFL nationally, who has previously worked for Westwood One radio and FoxSports.com, and who is currently featured on the Sideline View, a well-respected independent NFL news site. (LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/adam-caplan/13/398/373.) He's got upwards of 50,000 followers on Twitter and I'd personally rate his Twitter credibility at about the same as a more recognized name like Jason La Canfora. Not the same level of news-breaker as a Jay Glazer or Adam Schefter, but not a credibility-less pot-stirring hack hiding behind a pseudonym like "Incarcerated Bob" either.
In other words, if PFT is going to be a dealer in rumors and a breaker of random tidbits of news, they could pick far worse sources than Mr. Caplan.
@therebirth Well-written. I think/hope we hit home that the chances of tagging him as TE are VERY slim. I said “5%” on air. Prob too high.