More Questioning Of Adam Schefter’s Credibility Warranted After Kingsbury Report

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ESPN would hardly know what to do about its NFL coverage without Adam Schefter.

There’s more to Schefter’s job than breaking news, either on social media or in the studio, but breaking news is why he’s paid the big bucks and has a massive Twitter following. If you care about pro football, you know his name.

Suddenly, though, Schefter’s credibility is being called into question, his report on Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury being latest “insider info” to raise some eyebrows.

Schefter linked Kingsbury to the Oklahoma University vacancy, and Kingsbury sort of denied it, but sort of didn’t, as OutKick’s Armando Salguero wrote in a telling column.

“I don’t get into those things,” Kingsbury said when asked about the Oklahoma job, via OutKick’s Nick Geddes “My sole focus the last couple of weeks has been the Chicago Bears, and after watching them on Thanksgiving, it needs to be … We’re in season, we’re 9-2, just not a topic I wanna touch on right now.”

All of it seems like some larger scheme — concocted by Kingsbury’s representatives and carried out by Schefter as a favor — to get Kingsbury a contract extension with Arizona. (Kingsbury has one year remaining on his current deal.)

“Giving Schefter the benefit of the doubt here, sure … someone at Oklahoma did a temperature check on Kingsbury’s interest in the job,” wrote Ben Koo of Awful Announcing. “But as we all know, it’s not really a plausible scenario and Schefter is pretty clearly being used to help Kingsbury and his agent procure an extension with this info now public.

“Maybe Schefter owed a favor. Maybe he was banking one for later. Maybe he thought this .25% chance this could happen qualified it as actual news. Either way, the report was mocked far and wide on Twitter.”

Koo sure is right about that. The social media mob had a field day with Schefter. In this instance, though, it felt warranted.

Overall, it’s been a rough year for Schefter in the credibility department. At the start of the month, he was forced to apologize after Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was accused of assault and battery. Rather than researching the story, it seemed, Schefter merely relied on Cook’s agent to relay that it was Cook who had actually been assaulted.

That “report” came about a month after it was revealed that Schefter emailed a copy of his pre-published story on the Washington Football Team (then Redskins) to team executive Bruce Allen. Schefter even referred to Allen as “Mr. Editor” in the email, a journalistic no-no and worthy of the criticism it received.

The Kingsbury report is fairly transparent as well, even if Schefter hasn’t been caught referring to Kingsbury’s agent as an editor. ESPN, of course, remains silent on these matters, realizing that clicks and buzz count for a lot. Like it does with most things that warrant questioning about ethics, ESPN generally can be relied upon to simply ignore it and hope it goes away.

“What’s most interesting to me is if ESPN and Schefter perhaps begin to think through the viability and sustainability of the newsbreaker role, which is nowadays a hybrid between journalism and tweeting things that are texted to you because you work at ESPN, your social media following is the largest, and you are generally trusted,” Koo wrote. “The position does require good reporting skills, but also seems to have devolved into a dick measuring contest that requires your agency to email team officials and agents a powerpoint deck on why they should leak to you.”

Well said. And Schefter, Adria Wojnarowski, Jeff Passan and other ESPN insiders need to start realizing there’s difference between reporting truths and doing favors for and with the people they cover.

Until then, they deserve every ounce of scrutiny that comes their way.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side,


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  1. I’ve never liked Schefter but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I think it’s because he never explains how he gets first access to all this breaking news. There has to be some quid pro quo involved that he is not disclosing and that makes him untrustworthy. God knows how many times he has lied, misled, or omitted the full truth at the request of his sources.

    Ultimately, he’s not a real journalist doing deep investigative work extracting the truth from people who don’t want to give it up. He just gives favors to the NFL elite in exchange for the ability to break news an hour before anybody else. Almost everything he reports is something that would have soon become public anyway. He’s a hack.

  2. I really don’t care. Schefter’s “insider” act has always hovered around .500 when it comes to accuracy. I remember years ago when he was constantly wrong on everything Bruce Arians was going to do, that Belichick was going to retire to coach high school lacrosse, and of course, that Sean Payton was a lock to leave the Saints for the Cowboys because Parcells told him to go. As long as you look at his reports as gossip instead of fact its fine.

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