ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen really doesn’t want to talk about Deflategate anymore. More specifically he doesn’t want to talk about being fed erroneous information by the NFL that set the parameters for the Deflategate saga. It all started with a tweet.
Yet according to the Wells report this was incorrect.
“The Wells Report revealed that, depending on which of the two sets of measurements were used, one or none of the 11 footballs were as much as 2 PSI under the minimum.”
Mortensen has received criticism for his Deflategate reporting, and it appears he doesn’t want to answer any more questions about the subject. According to NESN and ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, Mortensen canceled a scheduled appearance on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” show when he got wind of some of the interview subjects.
“The hosts’ stated plan to question Mortensen’s initial report that 11 of the New England Patriots’ 12 footballs used in the AFC Championship Game were deflated 2 PSI below the minimum — a report later found to be false — apparently led to Mortensen’s decision.”
Mortensen chalked his canceling on not wanting to become the centerpiece of the story, and implied the radio station and the Patriots were trying to use him to deflect the attention away from Brady.
“You guys made a mistake by drumming up business for the show and how I would address my reporting for the first time,” Mortensen told WEEI, according to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio. “I will not allow WEEI, (Patriots owner Robert) Kraft or anybody to make me the centerpiece of a story that has been misreported far beyond anything I did in the first 48 hours. Maybe when the lawsuit is settled, in Brady’s favor, I hope, we can revisit. Don’t call.”
It’s understandable that Mortensen wouldn’t want to talk about reporting incorrect information. It’s embarrassing, and he becomes something you never want as a reporter — the center of a story. And almost any reporter will be fed wrong information by a source some time in their career. However, Mortensen is one of the most influential and powerful NFL reporters around. When he tweeted out the info on the alleged under inflated balls people were going to take his word on the matter. According to Deadspin the Tweet from Mortensen framed the early stages of the Deflategate controversy.
“For months, those numbers were the defining narrative of the Patriots’ football-deflation scandal. It went from smoke, a rumor reported only by an Indianapolis reporter, to a full-blown conflagration given the national imprimatur of ESPN. It indicated that the cheating was on such a scale and of such quality that it couldn’t have been anything but deliberate and organized.”
While Mortensen’s point about not wanting to become the center of the story is valid, it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be forced to answer some questions about his faulty reporting on the matter.