In the era of social media, it's become more and more difficult to differentiate fact from fiction. Spreading false information is as simple as typing out a couple sentences or posting a short video and clicking submit.
While politics has been front and center when it comes to this issue, sports haven't been exempt either. Now that free agency, the draft, and the schedule reveal have all passed on the calendar, the NFL will be battling this problem for the foreseeable future.
Case in point? On Monday, a Reddit user (yes, this is so 2020) posted a vague message indicating the Seahawks would be pulling off a major trade. He would later jump on KJR 950 Seattle for a 10-minute interview and expand on his story, "reporting" the team had a deal in place for Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett.
Under the terms of the deal, Seattle will deal away linebacker K.J. Wright, a second-round pick, and a seventh-round pick. This immediately drew pushback from reporters who cover the team, including Jake Heaps of ESPN 710, who tweeted the rumor "couldn't be more wrong."
The rumor gained traction in part because the Reddit user had previously posted a message about the impending release of Seahawks center Justin Britt, which ultimately proved to be true hours later. For that reason, nobody should blame KJR 950 for giving him a chance to pitch his report.
But with that said, it appears, as expected, that the intel wasn't accurate at all and the user eventually admitted that he "bamboozled" everyone. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports immediately dismissed the possibility of Garrett joining the Seahawks, joking that "he will be shot to Mars in a rocket before he’s dealt to Seattle."
Interestingly, out of curiosity, I myself checked in with multiple sources shortly after the Reddit user's initial message and before his radio appearance looking into the availability of Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon. I jokingly asked one of them about what it would take to acquire Garrett and the source laughed before hanging up the phone.
For such a deal to happen - I don't see why Cleveland would even entertain trading a young, elite pass rusher to begin with - Seattle would have to include at least one first round pick as just a starting point for negotiations. As good as Wright has been in his career, a 31-year old linebacker coming off surgery doesn't seem like a desirable asset.
As Heaps argued, the proposed trade by the Reddit user is laughable at best. Unless, of course, Bill O'Brien just took over as the Browns general manager. Then, this would be a different discussion, but new general manager Andrew Berry deserves the benefit of the doubt that he's not that inept at his job.
During a time where there seems to be a war on information - specifically, a war on the truth - it's just another not-so-friendly reminder you shouldn't and can't trust everything you read, see, or hear. With sports fans around the world quarantined and desperate for content, expect more of these types of reports to happen in coming weeks and months until football can return.