Editors for ESPN writer Seth Wickersham wittingly scheduled his book on the New England Patriots dynasty, It’s Better To Be Feared, to be released close to Tom Brady’s return to New England.
That fact meant Bill Belichick would hear about all of the different storylines dug up from its pages. According to NBC Sports’ Chris Collinsworth, the six-time Super Bowl-winning coach was not happy about it.
“Bill Belichick was hot. Getting ready to play a game like this. All the stories, all the books, all these things start coming out,” Collinsworth said. “And he was like, ’20 years, and you’re going to take 10 seconds out of this conversation this year and 20 seconds out of that conversation in that year, and somehow you’re going to make this into something it wasn’t? We had a great relationship. We learned a from each other. I learned a lot from Tom Brady.’”
Belichick is probably one of the last coaches anyone expects to feed into media narratives, but we are all human, and the Teflon mentality wasn’t working this time around.
“When he got to talking about ‘you guys in the media,’ we both threw up our hands and said ‘Woah Woah,’” Collinsworth said. “But it was an emotional thing for Bill. He did not like that people were trying to portray it besides something very, very positive for the two of them.”
Wickersham actually answered pointed questions about his sourcing and vetting process when weaving a tale like the one in this book. The writer went in-depth on the topic last week on WEEI as he sat in-studio with Merloni and Fauria.
“The people who I quoted in the book,” Wickersham said on last Friday’s show. “For the most part, were people who witnessed things firsthand. Who were in those meetings. Who were playing in those games. Those are the primary sources I relied on.”
Wickersham prefaced that with his process for smelling out BS. He interviews each subject then picks out a few things to use from conversations held over hours at a time. After he identifies those key nuggets he then goes back to the source and makes sure he has all of the context correct about the information.
The painstaking process is a necessary evil to make sure aggrieved parties like Belichick can’t just cast aside well-reported journalism as fake news. The book’s title is fitting after Wickersham showed no fear in his quest to accurately report on the greatest dynasty in NFL history.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Cubs Radio Voice Pat Hughes Named 2023 Frick Award Winner
Chicago Cubs radio voice Pat Hughes has been honored as the 2023 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award.
The award is given annually for “excellence in broadcasting” by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
“Known throughout the Midwest for his easy delivery and unparalleled knowledge, Pat Hughes has called some of the biggest moments in Cubs history and has provided the narrative for one of the most successful eras in the history of the franchise,” said National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum President Josh Rawitch. “Since arriving at Wrigley Field in 1996, Pat has served as the radio voice for nine postseason teams – matching an ardent fan base with his own passion in every broadcast. His reverence for baseball history and gift for storytelling have made him one of the game’s broadcast treasures.”
Hughes has spent more than 25 years as the voice of the Cubs, and is a nine-time winner of the Illinois Sportscaster of the Year Award. Earlier this year, Hughes found out on-air that he would be inducted into the Cubs Hall of Fame.
Hughes was previously a finalist for the award in 2016 and 2020.
Craig Carton: Jon Heyman ‘No Longer An Insider’ After Aaron Judge Gaffe
“That’s a bad job. And all that is is a guy trying to get ahead of everybody else. He screwed the pooch. That’s embarrassing.”
MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman erroneously reported that New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was signing with the San Francisco Giants in free agency yesterday, and the news was not well received by WFAN afternoon hosts Craig Carton and Evan Roberts.
After Heyman rescinded his original tweet saying “Arson Judge” appeared headed to the Giants, he resent a new one with the correct spelling. During the confusion, Roberts told producers to get Heyman — who is an Audacy contributor — on the phone, which Carton immediately shot down.
“No, we’re not putting him on the air,” Carton said. “I’m not putting him on the air. He doesn’t get a platform on this show. Listen, he made a deal with the devil when he took a job with The (New York) Post. That’s his business.”
While Carton and Roberts processed the news, producer Chris McMonigle said he was certain that Judge would be signing with the Giants, but that was not Heyman’s report, and would hold off until it was official.
Roberts mocked McMonigle by saying he was in denial. “He still hasn’t accepted that Jon Heyman knows what he’s talking about,” Roberts said. Moments later, McMonigle read Heyman’s follow up tweet apologizing for “jumping the gun”.
“That is a horrendous job by Jon Heyman,” Carton replied.
“Heyman’s done,” Roberts shouted. “Jon, what are we doing?”
“Heyman is no longer an insider,” Carton added. “That’s a bad job. And all that is is a guy trying to get ahead of everybody else. He screwed the pooch. That’s embarrassing.”
Carton later took umbrage with Heyman deleting his tweets.
“To play fans like that is absolutely unacceptable. It’s not right. Sorry. That’s because everyone’s gotta be first. God forbid someone else has it first. You’re a clown. Your entire career’s work has just been flushed down the toilet.”
Don La Greca: Jon Heyman Getting Aaron Judge Report Wrong A ‘Borderline Fireable Offense’
“You can’t have a bunch of people relying on your information — as a respected journalist — to throw out that information and then walk it back a couple of minutes later.”
MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman made waves throughout the baseball world yesterday by tweeting that free agent outfielder Aaron Judge “appeared headed” to the San Francisco Giants. Actually, Heyman had to send another tweet after sending out “Arson” Judge would be headed to the Giants. During The Michael Kay Show, Kay and co-host Don La Greca disagreed about Heyman’s culpability for his erroneous report.
Peter Rosenberg interrupted Kay mid-sentence to read Heyman’s report on the air that Judge would be departing New York. After they discussed the misspelling, Rosenberg asked “Are we taking this as law since it’s coming from Heyman?”
“Heyman doesn’t make that many mistakes,” responded Kay. “I’d bet on Heyman with this stuff.”
After taking a commercial break, the show rejoined with a follow up from Heyman walking back his report, saying he had “jumped the gun”.
“I’m gonna sit this out — because Jon Heyman happens to be a close personal friend — but that’s a bad look,” Kay said. “I’m not gonna drill the guy.”
“I will,” Don La Greca interrupted.
“In a world where everybody has to be first, this is gonna happen,” countered Kay. “And it could still end up being right because Susan Slusser, who works for the San Francisco Chronicle, says the buzz in the lobby is that Aaron Judge is going to the Giants.
“Here’s what I think happened: Heyman heard something that made him think Aaron Judge was signing with the Giants. Then he called the Giants and they said ‘Woah, woah, woah. We haven’t signed anything’, because they don’t want Hal (Steinbrenner) to jump in and say ‘Whatever they gave you, we’ll top it’. (The Giants) wanted to get Judge’s name on a contract before it gets out there, so now Heyman backed off. But we’ll see where it turns out.”
“I really like Jon, too, but there’s a certain responsibility that comes with being a journalist and a reporter,” La Greca rebutted. “And we live in a world now where getting it first is more important than getting it right. And you can just see by his tweet, ‘Arson Judge’, that he’s so quick to get it out there first on this big story — would it have killed him to call the Giants first? You can’t have a bunch of people relying on your information — as a respected journalist — to throw out that information and then walk it back a couple of minutes later. I’m sorry, Michael, but it’s a borderline fireable offense. Honestly.
“I don’t understand the importance of getting it first anyway. What? You’re gonna be first for 30 seconds and then everyone else is gonna jump on it? He’s got the contacts. Follow the story. You’re not a cub reporter. You shouldn’t be just walking around the lobby hungry for information trying to get it before everybody else. I’m sorry. It’s a bad job.”