Sep 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Kenyon Coleman (99) prior to the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
It’s easy for a sports writer or news agency to jump to the wrong conclusion and start “barking up the wrong source tree”, in fact it happens all the time. The accuracy of early reports of Kenyon Coleman signing with the Saints, or “the lack thereof” is an excellent example. On Friday the Internet came alive with reports that the New Orleans Saints had brought their second player to the team from the Dallas Cowboys. Now that the Saints have officially announced Coleman’s signing we can relax and learn a lesson from the last few days.
If memory serves it appeared that Adam Kaplan was the first to break the “news” in Twitter before Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk broke it there. Florio’s article was short and a bit ambiguous but the point was not lost on the droves of sportswriters who picked it up and ran with it:
"“Now, defensive end Kenyon Coleman has joined a defense that will be run before former Cowboys coordinator Rob Ryan.”"
Interestingly Florio not only didn’t specify a source (as in NFL league office or or team source), he didn’t even mention having one. That didn’t slow down the articles or the Saints fans confusion however. Saints fans began debating the various pro’s and cons of the signing in forums across the internet and many lively discussions ensued.
There was only one problem. There was no proof that Coleman had in fact signed, or to a lesser extent that an agreement in principle had been made with the Saints. One such forum was the “WhoDat Nation” section of the New Orleans Times Picayune”. Interestingly that same forum was likely the first one to realize that the news had been shot down by the TP’s Nokia Hogan later in the day. Hogan quoted a league source in his rebuttal of the signing news:
"“Despite a published report that the New Orleans Saints have signed free agent defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman, a league source said the Saints haven’t signed the former Dallas Cowboys player. Coleman visited with the Saints but a deal hasn’t been reached.”"
Did that stop the rumors from spreading? No, rumors don’t work that way. Exactly 10 minutes later NFL.com writer Kareem Copeland repeated the signing rumor and used Pro Football Talk and Mike Florio as his source. The really humorous part is the name of the section where NBC had the article posted: “Latest News And Rumors” (my emphasis)
This morning was indeed interesting. Mike Florio had posted a new “I told you so” article asserting that the signing was a done deal. There was still a problem: Mike disputed his own first article. He mentioned that his first post pointed out that Coleman “would sign”, rather than “had joined”. As luck would have it I was able to make the first comment under his article and pointed it out to him, lol…
A similar thing happened at the Times Picayune this morning when Larry Holder announced the news without naming the source. In essence Holder debunked Nakia Hogan’s post that I quoted above, although few may notice. Nakia had said his source verified no deal had been reached had been reached Friday, but Holder said a deal was agreed upon and a contract had in fact been drawn up Friday:
"“After taking the weekend to mull the contract, former Cowboys defensive end Kenyon Coleman has signed with the New Orleans Saints, according to a source. Coleman agreed to terms on a one-year deal on Friday, but Coleman was given the weekend to think it over.”"
So what’s the moral of the story? WhoDatDish may not jump on every rumor that we read because it can be embarrassing when one turns out to be a puff of smoke. Expect us to try to verify rumors, or attribute them to a proper source when we can’t. I knew the early rumors of the Coleman signing didn’t come from the NFL League Office because the man who told me has an office at 345 Park Avenue. Now that the Saints themselves have verified the signing we can finally welcome Kenyon Coleman to the WhoDat Nation!