The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Boston Herald columnist suspended after being duped by radio listener posing as Tom Brady’s agent

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sits on the field after fumbling against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of Super Bowl LII. (Eric Gay/AP)

The text messages from Tom Brady’s agent came from out of the blue and were too good to be true. If only Boston Herald sports columnist Ron Borges would have done a little more digging.

A radio listener, “Nick in Boston,” found Borges’s cellphone number on Twitter and texted the columnist on Jan. 20, posing as agent Don Yee, whose clients include Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. The two kept up a correspondence until “Nick in Boston” texted Borges, saying Brady was preparing to “sit out all offseason team activity,” unless the Patriots gave the quarterback a new contract to match that of former understudy Garoppolo.

New England traded Garoppolo to San Francisco midseason and the 49ers signed him on Thursday to a five-year, $137.5 million contract, biggest deal in NFL history on a average-per-year basis.

Brady, who is due to make $14 million in 2018, has historically given the Patriots a discount at the negotiating table so the team can acquire more talent. Despite winning his third MVP award this season, his salary ranked 18th among NFL quarterbacks.

Borges’s story sent shock waves through the NFL, until “Nick in Boston” called in to WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan” radio show to brag about his catfishing.

Radio host Kirk Minihane enlisted “Nick in Boston” to go after Borges for the columnist’s previous slights against the radio show.

Minihane bragged on air, “Let’s ruin Borges’s life today.”

“Two morons and me ruined your life,” Minihane continued after reading a text message chain between Borges and the fake Don Yee. “Bye, bye, Ronnie. Bye, bye. It’s over.”

Minihane said he came into the studio dressed up “for a funeral.”

The Herald retracted Borges’ story and suspended the columnist “pending further review.” It removed the article from its website. Links to the story now direct to the paper’s Sports section website.

“A column by Ron Borges in today’s Herald regarding Patriot Tom Brady’s salary discussions was based on information which proved to be false,” the Herald said in a statement. “The Herald apologizes to Brady, his agent Don Yee and the Patriots, and to our readers for this erroneous report.”

Read more from The Post: