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ESPN Changes Michael Vick Report After NFL Tweets About It

Jul 24, 2009 – 7:43 AM
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Michael David Smith

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On Thursday afternoon, ESPN reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would reinstate the suspended former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, and that if a team signed Vick, he would then be suspended for his first four regular-season games.

That came as news to the NFL, which went on Twitter to dispute the report.

Greg Aiello, the spokesman for the league, posted this on Twitter Thursday evening: "Despite what ESPN says, commish has made no decisions on MVick." Other NFL employees then re-tweeted Aiello's tweet.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen had previously tweeted that a three-hour meeting between Goodell and Vick would lead to a conditional reinstatement and a four-game suspension after training camp if Vick could sign with a team. But when Mortensen saw the NFL PR staff's tweets, he responded, "Despite what anyone says, ESPN did not report a decision has been made, based on what I just read on"

But then Mortensen went to and tweeted again: "
I take that back. After this 12-hr drive, I just read the story and the lead is erroneous. Guess I can't get to bed yet."

After that tweet, ESPN changed its report, and the story that's currently posted at says only that "
Goodell may be close to reaching a decision" and that a reinstatement "could also include a four-game suspension."

So two days after sitting on a story about a star quarterback that everyone else was reporting, ESPN rushed into a story about a star quarterback without getting all its facts straight. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted, ESPN has had a very bad week.
Filed under: Sports