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ESPN’s Adam Schefter Says Resurfaced Email to Source Went a “Step Too Far”

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ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter on Wednesday said that an email he sent to an executive of the Washington Football Team 10 years ago was inappropriate.

Schefter faced significant criticism Wednesday over the email, which was reported by the Los Angeles Times. In the email, Schefter appeared to send an entire story to Washington Football Team general manager Bruce Allen before ESPN published it, asking for “anything that should be added, changed, tweaked.” He also referred to Allen, jokingly, as “Mr. Editor.”

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The ESPN reporter sent the email during the 2011 NFL work stoppage, with the players and teams at odds over a new collective bargaining agreement.

On Wednesday, Schefter said in a statement that sending the email “was a step too far and, looking back, I shouldn’t have done it. The criticism being levied is fair.”

It is not normal journalistic practice to send a full story to a source before publication, and in the statement, Schefter acknowledged as much.

“Fair questions are being asked about my reporting approach on an NFL lockout story from 10 years ago,” he said. “Just to clarify, it’s common practice to verify facts of a story with sources before you publish in order to be as accurate as possible. In this case, I took the rare step of sending the full story in advance because of the complex nature of the collective bargaining talks.”

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“It was a step too far and, looking back, I shouldn’t have done it,” he added. “The criticism being levied is fair. With that said, I want to make this perfectly clear: in no way did I, or would I, cede editorial control or hand over final say about a story to anyone, ever.”

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