Several minutes after Deron Williams tweeted to the world his decision to remain with the Nets, ESPN's Chris Broussard chimed in with an amusingly oblivious tweet of his own:
source: Deron Williams tells Nets he's staying in Brooklyn— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 3, 2012
Was he trying to mislead his 483K followers into thinking he had a genuine scoop? Or did he legitimately fail to realize that D-Will already announced as much? Only Broussard knows for sure, but it's hard to give him the benefit of the doubt after he did the exact same thing with the Eric Gordon news just hours later.
At 10:20 p.m. ET, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic broke the news about Gordon signing an offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns, including in his story a prepared statement from Gordon.
"After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible," Gordon said in a prepared statement. "Mr. Sarver, Lon Babby, Lance Blanks, the front office staff and Coach Gentry run a first-class organization, and I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now."
Thirteen minutes later, Broussard tweeted:
Eric Gordon told me this: "I strongly feel (the Suns) are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is.''— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 4, 2012
There's a huge difference between a prepared statement sent to multiple writers and "Eric Gordon told me this."
To be fair, I'm definitely not suggesting Broussard lifted the quote from Coro -- if I had to guess, I'd say Gordon's agent sent an email blast to dozens of national writers, as well as beat guys in New Orleans and Phoenix. But Coro still appears to be the first online with the news, something that Broussard completely neglects to mention in his rush to frame a prepared statement as a personal conversation.
What's the big deal? For one, NBA reporting -- especially during July's free agent silly season -- is a cutthroat business, and hardworking reporters like Coro (one of the best local guys in the business) deserve credit when credit is due. Instead, Broussard's fake "scoop" gets amplified by a retweet from ESPN's @SportsCenter account, fooling its 3.5 million followers that its high-paid NBA reporter is breaking news and not simply checking email.
Broussard's hardly the only high-profile reporter relying on lazy and deceptive tricks to elevate his reputation among casual observers, but it doesn't make it any less annoying to those of us paying close enough attention to see behind the curtain.