Friday, February 4, 2011

King Of All Things, Just Not Accuracy

People by now, know my stance on Peter King.

He may be a swell fellow, but I think he's a horseshit writer and even worse journalist.

This opinion is sometimes met with the obligatory “you're just jealous” or “why do you have to make it personal” argument from people who are either King fans, or at least “King Neutral.”

Well, to answer those charges: a) I certainly AM jealous and b) this can't be personal, because I don't even know him personally.

Neither of which, have anything to do with the actual MERITS of my stance against his WORK.

I am jealous of King's multi-platform, quasi-NFL-celebrity success. He's built a monster brand. Kudos to that. I need to take notes. And like I said on the personal side, I don't know him, and even hear he's a guy who can take full brunt criticism head on.

What I do hate, however, is the fact that too many people overlook his serious journalistic flaws and take what he reports seriously. King still PURPORTS to be a journalist. As such, I try to grade on that scale.

This week, King made major headlines early at the Super Bowl with a bombshell about Roger Goodell's decision to suspend Big Ben based – at least partly – on the fact that some “two dozen” players interviewed by the Commish, failed to come to his defense as a decent guy.

Here's where we pick up on a King retraction/backtrack/apology. Take it away, Pete...

•Why did I assume Goodell was talking about the Steelers when I inserted "Steelers'' incorrectly in the quote?

Great journalism lesson here, and it illustrates what a mistake I made. My question on the transcribed interview before Goodell's answer referred to the "many people I know in Pittsburgh'' who wanted Roethlisberger "on the Steelers.'' In Goodell's answer, I assumed he was referring to the Steelers when he referred to the players he spoke with before sanctioning Roethlisberger. You know what they say about assumptions. I should have asked him if he meant the Steelers.

I've spoken to Roethlisberger's agent, Ryan Tollner, relaying my regrets. And Tuesday afternoon, I spoke with Steelers co-owner Art Rooney II, head coach Mike Tomlin and Roethlisberger to clarify my remarks.

I take errors seriously. This story is a good cautionary tale about making assumptions, and I'll redouble my efforts to not do so in the future.

REACT: Okay, let me jump in here.

Either one of two things happened. Either..

a) King committed a huge error by failing to pin down exactly who Goodell spoke to, and why. To me, that was THE ESSENCE of the story, and something so shocking, and stupid, that I would have focused in on that revalation like a lazer beam.


b) King WAS correct in the first place, but having touched off a minor storm in the NFL offices, was coerced into falling on his sword and claiming he made a mistake.

Let's deal with “B” for a moment first.

Why would the NFL get their pants in a wad about this revelation? Well, duh. If true, then reporters here in Dallas would suddenly have a chance to play a game of “who didn't back Big Ben” when the commish called? It would have been a huge distraction for the Steelers this week, as the two dozen Steeler “rats” were hunted for in media session after session.

Writers could get denial after denial, crossing every Steeler off their list.

If so, then why would King, agree to be the fall guy for the league and admit to a mistake he did not make?

Because King wants and needs ACCESS more than anything, so to him, a small “oopsie” correction would be nothing. While he's not quite the NFL's “mouthpiece” per se, he is a guy friendly enough to the league that he GETS the kind of Commissioner Level access to provide him a chance for these one on one sit downs.

But let's not assume B, lets assume A. It's a mistake. And yeah, a BIG one.

When King sorta pats himself on the back for taking his medicine, it's bullshit. “I take mistakes seriously” and “I will redouble my efforts in the future.”

No you don't and no you won't.

This is what King does. He makes mistakes, all the time, and big ones.

He fundamentally fails to understand the nature of the NFL, and what is realistic. It's why he says with full enthusiasm that Danny Wuerrful in 2002 would throw for 4,000 yards under Steve Spurrier. No, he did not. He threw for 619 yards, starting just 7 games. He was knocked around like the undersized NFL rag-doll he was, and got yanked in and out of the starters job – just like Steve Spurrier has always done with his QB's.

He is easily duped by guy he thinks are “sources” that can be trusted. Brett Favre when it comes to his retirement psycho-drama. Nick Saban when he was already on the way out of Miami to take the Alabama job, convincing King that he was actually staying with the Dolphins.

All of that does not make for a good journalist to me. That's makes for a guy who has become a celebrity NFL blogger, with about 16 different jobs.

In fact, the comedy of his column about “redoubling” his efforts to be more accurate in his reporting was followed by this:

Tweetup information: I'll be at The Common Table, 2917 Fairmount, in Uptown Dallas on Thursday night from 7:30-9 central time. Stay tuned to @SI_PeterKing for more information. I hope to bring along at least one NFL player and a couple of scribes, but follow me on Twitter in the next day or so, and I'll let you know who will be there with me.

REACT: Yeah. A fucking “Tweet Up.” It's a wonder this guy gets anything right, chasing all of this nonsense.

One final note on the actual nugget (King, LOVES nuggets!) of Goodell's suspension “evidence.” OMFG, kids. If that's how this commissioner is gonna roll, then every single player in the league should be worried. In court, you are indeed tried by a jury of your “peers” but at least then you get the benefit of lawyers, evidence and a judge.

In the Court of Goodell, you just get judged by a jury of anonymous peers, who get called out of the blue for a quick opinion on whether they like you or not.


  1. will never forgive either peter king or paul zimmerman for the art monk HOF mess. never. their arguments were so flawed and contrived i became convinced they had axes to grind.

  2. Peter King is like a lot of other writers who really are fans and then, when somehow they become popular, become celebrities in some twisted way. He seems like a nice guy when you hear him speak, but considering the access he gets, he is wrong a lot and doesn't sound like a guy who really knows a lot about sports aside from what he's told. Rick Reilly is a guy like this; I'll never forget the rah-rah story he wrote in SI about Bill Romanowsky's regimen and dedication where he sent his stool, urine and blood to be analyzed by a place called BALCO Labs and worked with a guy named Victor Conte. Never questioning the need for such nonsense, Reilly portrayed this serial douchebag as Jack LaLanne-like in his commitment. Oops. At least PKing apologized.

    The big problem with this particular issue of who Goodell really spoke with about Ben, is that players can bury a star on an opposing team without proof of real wrong doing and Goodell would allow that kind of hearsay to factor in to a punishment.

  3. Not shocking Peter King is not a good writer or researcher. Works for NBC - Home to all things Wrong.