Monday, June 22, 2009

PFT's Florio gets bitter in defending Portis 'reporting'

I mentioned this post in Sunday's Weekly Rundown, but last Friday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote that Clinton Portis and Jim Zorn weren't getting along in the team's recent OTA sessions. Florio included this quote from one unnamed source: "Portis totally has no regard for [Zorn] and thinks he’s above everyone." Florio then went on to include some comments made by John Riggins, who has obviously disliked Portis for a while now, in a rant he made on Portis in January.

Well, a couple of D.C. blogs weren't too happy with the post. On Friday afternoon, Hogs Haven posted a mocking write-up titled, "Multiple Source Confirm Mike Florio Is Clueless." Here's a sample:

I have had the opportunity to contact multiple sources, and they all advise me that Mike Florio has no idea what he is talking about. Does he ever come outside? Where does he get his sources? First he drops a completely unfounded rumor that LaRon Landry is asking to be traded. When we asked the Redskins Public Relations about the rumor, they responded that they had not heard of anything even remotely like that. Then LaRon himself denied that anything like that was going on.

Today he "reports" that Clinton Portis is creating a huge problem in Redskins camp. Again, we asked the Redskins, "What's going on?" We were told that this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, it is a classic case of Florio manufacturing the news. He trotted a quote from Riggins that is about 6 months old, and the quote about Clinton thinking he is above everyone else smacks of a quote from last year as well. This is what NBC is paying for?

Over at Mr. Irrelevant, the Mottram brothers, already on tilt after Florio's Favre-to-the-Redskins speculation on Thursday, had a little barb aimed towards Florio in a links post this morning: "Florio does what Florio does, says Zorn has a problem with Portis."

Interestingly enough, the war of words didn't stop there; instead, Florio fired back earlier today at Portis and "some bloggers":

Redskins running back Clinton Portis has denied our recent report that he has demonstrated disrespect to coach Jim Zorn during offseason workouts.

"How this story came about, I have no idea," Portis told David Elfin of the Washington Times. "There's nothing going on. There's no beef between me and Coach Zorn. We're on good terms at this present moment. There's no problem."

Portis admitted that there was a past "flareup" with Zorn, but that it happened "a long time ago."

Portis also told Elfin that we (as in PFT) are trying to make trouble where none exists.

Clinton, we honestly don't give a [expletive]. We use the stuff we get that we think our readers will find interesting. And when a credible source tells us that you mouthed off to your head coach during offseason workouts and another credible source corroborates the notion that you have no regard for Zorn, then it's something we're going to share with our audience.

And we assume that Redskins fans (including some bloggers who lack the ability to be objective because they're more concerned about seeing their favorite team be successful than they are about getting to the truth) will blindly accept the version of the events being told by Portis and quarterback Jason Campbell and anyone else with a vested interest in keeping the team's dirty laundry in the locker room.

Ah yes, the blogger who couldn't get any respect from the mainstream media is now beginning to take shots at bloggers himself.

Here is Mr. Irrelevant's response:

Here’s the thing: We aren’t “blindly accepting” anything. We are accepting, for now, CP and Campbell’s version of the story because it is the more believable side. Florio’s Redskins speculation is inaccurate more often than not (he’s 0-3 this month), and there has not been one report — not even a whisper — from anywhere else that Portis has treated his head coach this offseason in the manner in which Florio’s source suggest. In fact, believing Florio’s report would be the very definition of blind acceptance — simply trusting that Florio’s unnamed informant knows something that has not been mentioned anywhere else.

Florio's speculation isn't anything new; it's something that his site came to be known for, and it's the reason why a lot of people read and will continue to read his NFL coverage. What's interesting to me is that he responded to criticism at all, dropping a rare S-bomb in the process. "Why so serious?"

In most cases, Florio would be right about blogs defending their team, but many Redskins fans already take shots at their team and how it's run -- I know I do. But in this case, if Florio can't provide definitive proof or list his sources, he looks like someone who's just trying to start some trouble. And if that was his goal, he succeeded.

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