Sports | January 5, 2021 9:57 am

Fake Adam Schefter Twitter Account Tricks ESPN Into Posting False NFL Story

The Worldwide Leader published a false story involving Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey

an incorrect story on Monday involving Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey
ESPN posted an incorrect story on Monday involving Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.
Getty Images

In an event that should have happened last year thanks to the sheer absurdity of it, ESPN published an incorrect story on Monday based on information that was tweeted by an account posing as an ESPN reporter.

Tweeting on Monday, an account with the handle @TuaNeedsHelp tweeted that the Miami Dolphins and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey had parted ways. The account had changed its name and profile picture to look like the account of senior ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter, but the account’s handle was clearly still a reference to Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, not Schefter’s name.

Following the tweet, a story about Gailey’s firing was on ESPN.com for about 20 minutes. It also ran on the network’s Bottom Line and was mentioned on the 1 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter.

Trusting that ESPN would have been able to take the time to verify information which ostensibly came from one of its most-trusted reporters, other outlets also began to run with the story.

But, as it turns out, Gailey had not been fired by the team and the Worldwide Leader was forced to pull down the story and replace it with a correction.

“ESPN published an incorrect story on Monday involving Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey,” according to ESPN. “The story has been removed from ESPN.com, and replaced with this correction. No ESPN reporters reported on Gailey or the Dolphins, or were involved in the error, which was made internally. ESPN regrets the error.”

While there’s no doubt someone should have checked in with Schefter before going with the Gailey story, it is certainly possible he will be fired this offseason after the Dolphins missed the playoffs despite winning 10 games this season.

Gailey has been tasked with developing Tagovailoa, who threw one touchdown and three interceptions in a Week 17 loss to the Bills that cost Miami a playoff berth. So, ESPN’s false report may end up being true as the Dolphins have not said whether Gailey will be back next year.

Either way, the lesson here is to double-check for the blue checkmark.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, guess who announced Gailey was done in Miami?

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.