By now you’ve surely heard about the story of Donovan McNabb, Mike Shanahan and the wristband. The Washington Post, you’ll note, has not weighed in on this matter; our reporters are doing reporting, and if there’s anything to report, they’ll report it.
In the meantime, break out the popcorn and enjoy the spectacle of D.C. media members fighting over the reporting about the report.
* The original report, of course, came on 106.7 The Fan. And, like clockwork, one of the first and strongest denials came from Chris Russell, the former 106.7 The Fan reporter who now reps ESPN 980.
Talked to 5 people that are close enough to know about McNabb refusing to wear a play-calling wrist band. All say never saw it/ no knowledge....FWIW, Donovan McNabb wishes not to speak 4 right now on the Hopkins matter or the wristband allegations. Not much needs 2 be said.
Five people! With no knowledge! News!
Also on the debunking train was Comcast SportsNet’s Kelli Johnson. You can see how CSN played her story above; they called it “a lot of junk.” You see what they did there, debunking the Junkies with the “lot of junk” phrasing? Cold.
Here’s the money graf from the Web story:
Despite a radio report Thursday, Donovan McNabb never refused to wear a wristband to help him call plays last season -- because the Redskins never asked him to, Comcast SportsNet’s Kelli Johnson is reporting, citing a team source close to the situation.
But it gets even more fascinating. Because right next to Johnson’s story, seen above, is the “McNabb Refused to Wear Wristband” story, which was written by CSNWashington’s Rich Tandler, who wrote this in his comment section
I’m about 99% confident that the wristband story is true.
So now we have two CSN employees battling each other. Meantime, it’s time to get the 106.7 The Fan crew back involved. Let’s start with program director Chris Kinard, who took to Twitter to defend his station’s story and cast doubt on CSN’s:
Multiple sources have corroborated. And McNabb’s own spokesman has declined comment. So I would question their story...We have a source with the organization, and one close to the player’s agent, saying he refused to wear a wristband with the plays. His publicist didn’t respond all day. The team didn’t respond all day. You be the judge.
Close to the player’s agent? That’s a new twist. And frankly, that would have helped frame the original story, which was never even published in text format on The Fan’s Web site, which also might have helped.
Meanwhile, Eric Bickel, one of the hosts who helped “break” the story, also chimed in on Twitter:
People can believe or disbelieve our McNabb wristband story. Up to u. But know 100% we didn’t make this up. 2 different independent sources.
Around the same time, a third 106.7 The Fan employee — weekend host and McNabb ally Brian Mitchell — took the floor. Now, bear in mind that no one anywhere has suggested that the source of this story was either Mike or Kyle Shanahan, and Kinard is saying at least one of their sources is close to McNabb’s camp and not a part of the team. But B-Mitch went on the attack, suggesting this is part of a smear campaign against McNabb.
I talked to McNabb today and he said that [the report] is BS!!! The fact that the Shanahans are still talking spells LIARS to me!!!!....They’ve been trying to undermine him all offseason. If he’s so bad, they should just let him go....They play bs games all the time in the NFL. You down him to make people forget about the mediocre QB’s we have now!!....I’ve talked to people on the team that said the plays came in slow from the sideline.
Another new twist! Plays came in slow from the sideline!
So we have CSN Washington employees discrediting CSN Washington reports, and 106.7 The Fan employees discrediting 106.7 The Fan reports, and former 106.7 The Fan employees saying their sources have no knowledge, and blog posts on Pro Football Talk and the National Football Post, all based on some radio dialog between two of the Junkies Thursday morning.
Like I said, break out the popcorn.