Dave Zirin's tweet "quoting" The Ringer's Michael Lombardi got Bill Simmons fired up.
A Twitter kerfuffles go, Wednesday saw a wild one involving Bill Simmons, writer Dave Zirin, J.J. Watt and others.
It all started when Zirin, sports editor of The Nation, tweeted a "quote" from The Ringer's Michael Lombardi during a recent episode of his GM Street podcast, regarding UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.
Zirin's since-deleted tweet said, "Michael Lombardi said of Josh Rosen, 'He has to decide whether he wants to be a humanitarian or football player.' Why"
This take, that a guy can't be a humanitarian AND a football player, angered many people including J.J. Watt and Ryan Leaf, who of course weighed in on Twitter.
This is just as dumb as the “shut up and dribble” comment. Right or wrong, athletes are some of the most recognizable people in this country. That is an extremely powerful platform that so many use to do great things in their community. Who wouldn’t want that? #MoreThanAnAthlete https://t.co/wDKcj341n8— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 7, 2018
There was only one problem. That was not Lombardi's exact quote. Zirin attempted to clear things up while apologizing to Lombardi.
I deleted the original because if you're going to use quote marks, you need to get it right. Again, apologies. Will do better.— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) March 7, 2018
This was not good enough for Simmons, the founder and CEO of The Ringer.
Simmons wasn't done, retweeting this from The Ringer's social media director/producer.
It's incredible how much damage one person in the industry can do do someone else's reputation by misquoting them and creating a fake outrage cycle. Even when they delete the tweet after two hours, the damage is done.— pat muldowney (@patmuldowney) March 7, 2018
Simmons finishing his scolding of Zirin with a "do better," was a bit aggressive, but when you see/hear Lombardi's full quote, you can understand Simmons being mad, especially since Lombardi specifically said there was nothing wrong with being a humanitarian.
Here is the full exchange between Lombardi and his podcast co-host, Tate Frazier:
Frazier: "There's been mixed reports leading into the actual combine. There were teams that were worried about his make up, were some of the stories coming out. He tried to get ahead of some of that stuff. I saw some headlines leading into the combine this past Saturday saying, 'Josh Rosen loves football. He's a hundred percent in on football.' Did he help himself this weekend? I've seen some people that think that Rosen still may be a top pick."
Lombardi: "I don't know if he did, Tate Frazier. What I'm hearing was, it was OK. I think he's gonna have to prove it. He's coming back saying he loves football. I've talked to some people here. He might like humanitarian work more than football. I don't know. Nothing wrong with that. But I don't know where his values really lie."