The New England Patriots tweeted out ESPN’s late-night apology for twice referencing a derogatory false report about Super Bowl XXXVI in recent weeks to the team’s 1.5 million twitter followers.
In the tweet the Patriots observed the irony that ESPN failed to mention that their reporter Chris Mortensen falsely reported earlier that 11 of New England’s 12 game balls in the 2015 AFC championship game were deflated by two PSI, a report subsequently proven to be incorrect. The Mortensen report helped shape public opinion on Deflategate and the NFL didn’t correct it despite a league source leaking false info to ESPN.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) August 20, 2015
Yahoo Sports reported that the 11 of 12 story remains on ESPN’s website. According to Yahoo:
NFL senior vice president of football operations David Gardi sent a letter to the Patriots in the days after the AFC championship game informing them of an investigation, and the letter included flatly incorrect information such as one of the balls being 10.1 psi (none were less than 10.5 on either gauge used) and that each of the inspected Colts’ balls were in the legal range (three of the four balls tested by alternate game official Dyrol Prioleau were less than 12.5 psi). The NFL has never explained why or how there were incorrect facts in that letter, and the league has never indicated it has looked into the source of the “11 of 12” leak to ESPN.
The 2002 incident involved ESPN repeating a Boston Herald report that the Patriots taped the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough practice before Super Bowl XXXVI. National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2008 that he found no evidence of the video taping and the Herald later retracted the story as false. In May 2008 the Herald issued a front-page apology for running the story without adequate verification.
The Patriots have not been shy about criticizing the NFL on their handling of deflategate fiasco. Now they ratchet up the criticism of the NFL’s broadcast partner ESPN.