ESPN’s Adam Schefter responded to criticism of his journalistic ethics surrounding a decade-old email he sent to then-Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that Schefter emailed a full draft of a story about the 2011 NFL lockout to Allen. Schefter wrote that he planned to file the story, but first asked Allen — to whom he referred to as “Mr. Editor” — if he saw “anything that should be added, changed, tweaked.”
“Fair questions are being asked about my reporting approach on an NFL Lockout story form 10 years ago,” Schefter said Wednesday in a statement released through ESPN PR. “Just to clarify, it’s common practice to verify facts of a story with source before you publish in order to be as accurate as possible. In this care, I took the rare step of sending the full story in advance because of the complex nature of the collective bargaining talks.”
Schefter said that he deserved the criticism for the email.
“It was a step too far and, looking back, I shouldn’t have done it,” he said. “The criticism being levied if fair. With that said, I want to make this perfectly clear; in no way did I, or would I, cede editorial control or hand over final say about a story anyone, ever.”
The ESPN insider’s correspondence emerged in findings of an NFL investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington Football Team.
“Without sharing all the specifics of the reporter’s process for a story from 10 years ago during the NFL lockout, we believe that nothing is more important to Adam and ESPN than providing fans the most accurate, fair and complete story,” the outlet said in a statement to the LA Times.
This week, Schefter reported on the resignation of Jon Gruden over emails using racist, homophobic and misogynistic language, which were uncovered in the same NFL investigation.
On Tuesday, attorneys for 40 former WFT employees released a statement, calling for the NFL to release the full findings of its inquiry into the franchise.