Someone needs to remind Peter King to always look for the little blue checkmark.
King, the longtime NFL reporter who currently writes Football Morning in America for NBC Sports, was once again duped by a fake Twitter account. On Sunday, King shared a fictitious report about Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown retiring to his 1.8 million Twitter followers.
The Twitter thread was written by notorious fake-scooper SportsTalkBarry, who has been temporarily banned from Twitter multiple times for impersonating NFL news breakers (in this case, he temporarily changed his account to mimic NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport).
Brown, who was traded to Oakland by the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been sitting out of Raiders training camp over a dispute over his helmet, which the NFL said he is no longer allowed to wear after failing a lab safety test. On Sunday, frustrated Raiders general manager Mike Mayock told reporters it’s time for Brown “to be all in or all out.”
Unfortunately, sharing fake tweets has become something of a trend for King. Over the years, the former Sports Illustrated reporter has been duped into sharing bogus reports on Twitter that Eli Manning asked to be released by the New York Giants, the New England Patriots were signing Colin Kaepernick and Darrelle Revis, and that Revis was being traded to the Atlanta Falcons.
King was far from the only sports reporter duped by the fake Brown report, which appears to also have fooled former SportsCenter anchor Todd Grisham and San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Bryce Miller. King owned up to the errant tweet Sunday evening:
“I think it’s kind-of funny,” the real Rapoport said on the Sports Illustrated Sports Media Podcast back in May. “It does happen where GMs or agents will call me and be like, ‘How can you report it?’ I’m like, ‘Hang on, are you sure I reported it? You checked for the blue checkmark?’”
At least King realized pretty quickly he had been duped. Back in June, Skip Bayless cited a fake SportsTalkBarry report - about Chris Paul mocking James Harden “for having manboobs” – during a discussion on his FS1 show Undisputed.
ESPN overhauling its NBA coverage
According to multiple reports, the network’s top studio show NBA Countdown will no longer be hosted by Michelle Beadle, who had been with the show since 2016 and was previously moved off ESPN’s morning show Get Up!. Instead, The Jump host Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor will share hosting duties, with Jalen Rose retuning as a studio analyst.
ESPN declined to comment on the reports. Sports by Brooks was first to report Beadle was being dropped from NBA Countdown.
It’s unclear what role Beadle will hold at ESPN moving forward, where she’s reportedly paid $5 million a year. According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchund, the move was part of a back-to-basics strategy under new network president Jimmy Pitaro, who wants the network’s NBA coverage to move closer to the straight-forward news breaks of insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
Beadle isn’t the only personality that appears to be moving on. According to The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch, Chauncey Billups will move off NBA Countdown and into the booth, where he’ll serve as an analyst for some ESPN games (he will also call Los Angles Clippers games this season). It’s unknown if Paul Pierce, who was bashed last season over his Dwyane Wade comments and revealed the truth behind an NBA myth involving the bathroom and a wheelchair, will be returning to the show.
Outside of NBA Countdown, studio analyst and ex-NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy appears to be on his way out at ESPN and moving on to Turner to call games, according to Marchund. His younger brother, Jeff Van Gundy, will continue to call games for ESPN.
The Sixers are scheduled to play 15 games on ABC and ESPN this season, including their season opener against the Boston Celtics on Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
• ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza returned to the booth last night after a car accident caused her to miss last week’s Giants-Phillies game.
• The sports media world lost two greats over the weekend: CBS Sports broadcasting legend and Philadelphia native Jack Whitaker and Jack Chevalier, the popular sportswriter who created the “Broad Street Bullies” nickname.
• Former Boston sports talker Kirk Minihane appears to believe his time at Barstool Sports is already over.