ESPN’s Jeff Passan Rips Radio Station for Questioning Reporting Methods: TRAINA THOUGHTS

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1. I had no idea Jeff Passan could be so fiery. Any time I’ve seen ESPN’s excellent baseball reporter on television, he’s always come across as calm and mellow. That was not the case Tuesday afternoon when he appeared on ESPN Radio’s The Michael Kay Show.

Passan opened up his appearance on the New York show by calling out WFAN, the Big Apple’s other sports talk radio station, for questioning how ESPN handled the Jared Porter story.

Porter was fired Tuesday morning as GM of the Mets after ESPN released an investigative piece written by Passan and Mina Kimes about Porter sending lewd texts to a journalist while he was a scout for the Cubs in 2017.

“There’s another radio station in New York that’s been pretty damn irresponsible today about its coverage of this,” Passan told Kay at the start of his appearance. “I hate giving them any shine because they don’t deserve it, but the notion that ESPN has been sitting on this story since 2017 is the most giant load of irresponsible garbage that I’ve heard in a long time. We have duties as journalists to protect our sources and to look after the people who give us the stories that we get to tell. It is their story. It is not ours. And the idea that we have been sitting on this, because this woman who went through a horrendous thing, with somebody in a position of power, and ended up having to move back to her country and get out of journalism because of it, the idea that she wasn’t ready at that time is perfectly rational and normal. And the type of response that I think any of us could go through. She wasn’t ready. The story waits for when the person whose it is is ready to tell it.”

First, that’s a very good rant. Second, I don’t know if Passan was calling out one show or multiple WFAN shows, but like he told Kay, there’s no reason to give them any publicity for such a ridiculous take. Obviously, Passan is 100% correct in his explanation of how journalism works. If a source gives you a story about themselves, you can’t go with it until they give you the O.K. But the issue with the people who bring up the dumb “why wasn’t this reported in 2017” point is that they don’t really care about journalistic ethics or this story at all. They just care about whataboutism and conspiracy stories.

As Passan told Kay, he wasn’t even working at ESPN in 2017. The source brought this story to Kimes.

As I wrote Tuesday, this is totally cut and dry. Porter’s behavior was unacceptable, so the Mets took action, as they should have. Period. End of story. No need to say anything else.

But because everything is a conspiracy these days and because some men don’t see the problem with Porter harassing a reporter, they question the reporting methods.

To them, it just can’t just be that the guy lost his job because he acted terribly. Good for Passan for defending himself on The Michael Kay Show. Sadly, the people who need to hear what he said can’t, or worse, won’t grasp his explanation.

2. With the final television ratings in for the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, the story remains the same as it's been all season: The league's viewership numbers are down slightly this season, but those numbers are still extremely strong and stronger than anything else on TV.

3. Bill Belichick's girlfriend, Linda Holliday, seemed a bit perturbed at an Instagram commenter who brought up Tom Brady.

So much saltiness.

4. Philip Rivers's retirement, which the quarterback announced this morning, means we've lost one of the best trash talkers in NFL history. Here is some of his best mic'd-up work.

5. The guest on the latest episode of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast is Troy Aikman. Fox's lead NFL analyst explains why Tom Brady and Drew Brees have had so much success at the late stages of their careers, reveals who he thinks deserves the most credit for the NFL's being able to play an uninterrupted season during a pandemic, what it's been like calling games in empty stadiums, his philosophy for criticizing players during a game, his desire for a front-office job, the controversy with the Eagles' final regular-season game, why he thinks Aaron Donald is better than Lawrence Taylor, whether he'd ever want to guest-host a game show, recording a country album many years ago and much more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

6RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Joe Biden is now officially the President of the United States of America. Let's remember his best moment as Vice President.

7SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: Two years ago today, the worst non-call in NFL history took place.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.