Yesterday a rumor made the rounds on twitter and message boards about Rondo and the Kings (how original). It even made it to ESPN's rumors page (Insider access only, natch). Even before ESPN had it, Basketball Insiders posted a link to it. The problem is, it was bogus. I'll let Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders explain.
Yesterday, unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of something that ended up being far from credible. One of our newsline editors came across a blurb on Rotoworld and against his own better judgment opted to run it. The story in question involved a Twitter report suggesting the Sacramento Kings had a deal "80%" complete that would land Rajon Rondo in Sacramento for a package of assets that included Ben McLemore and Derrick Williams among other things. After this report ran, as you can imagine the world (especially from the Boston side) kind of blew up. To say there were people unhappy with the report, especially considering we sort of co-signed it, is a bit of an understatement. As with most reporting, once it came out, sources on all sides of this reached out to squash this, and we have since reported that and removed the original post. It was a bad call by one of our guys and we’ll own that. That’s life on the bleeding edge. The issue has been addressed and lessons were learned.
Do a little digging and you'll find that the source of the rumor was some guy on twitter that calls himself an "insider." (No, I'm not linking to his account) Basically it seems like he finds rumors, posts similar rumors with a twist, waits for deals to happen, and claims credit for them (self promoting all along), and brushes off deals that don't happen by explaining that they "fell apart" or whatever. Do a little more digging and you'll find that you too can be his source, if you want to DM him claiming to be on the staff of some NBA team.
The point here is that there's a lot of junk out there. People claiming to know something just to get their 15 min. of fame or to troll the masses or whatever.
Don't get me wrong, I look into all of it. I want to know as much (if not more) than all of you. I'll look under every rock for a rumor. You never know where you'll find out about the next big thing. I had a couple of people email me about the KG trade a day before it happened and I mostly brushed them off as bogus rumors. Still, I listen to everything, but I only report what I feel comfortable reporting.
From time to time people email me with information but I don't really have any way of confirming that information so I don't report it. It isn't worth risking my credibility.
You could argue that reporting some of the stuff that gets run on ESPN and other major sites isn't responsible either, but at least there you can point to a major outlet that (in theory) cares about their reputation. As long as the site is being credited, the responsibility falls on them. This is why Tyler of Basketball Insiders is taking such an interest in squashing a rumor that turned out to be bogus.
I guess the point I'm trying to get across here is that this rumors game is all a little silly. If something is going to happen, it will happen. Will it really enrich your life to know about it hours or even days ahead of most other people? Is getting the information first really that valuable to you?
Like I said, I get it. I want to know and I actually have a vested interest in knowing sooner than the average Joe. But jumping at pump fakes only leaves you looking silly. So remember to listen to everything and believe nothing in the game of rumors.