The latest example of a professional athlete using social media to stir up trouble involves a former Patriot who played a small role in New England’s perfect 2007 regular season.
The Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week put out a statement denying a rumor that they were about to fire head coach Andy Reid, who has been at the helm in Philadelphia since 1999 and is the NFL’s longest-tenured head coach, and replace him with ESPN analyst Jon Gruden. The source of the rumor, as it turns out, was a Facebook post by Kyle Eckel, a fullback who scored two touchdowns for the 2007 Patriots. Eckel, a Philadelphia native, played briefly for the Eagles after the Patriots cut him in 2008. He spent last season on the Denver Broncos’ injured reserve list.
“Inside word,” Eckel posted on Sunday. “John Gruden is in Philadelphia right now shacked up in a hotel getting ready for something. My guess is he’s not about to join the Flyers’ coaching staff. New Eagles head coach? Looking like it.”
The rumor was picked up by an Eagles blogger as well as Ashley Zavala, a young reporter from Philadelphia for a TV station in Columbia, Mo. Zavala said her information on Reid’s departure came from an “inside source.”
By the next day, the Eagles were receiving enough media calls about the rumor that they issued the following statement: “Early this morning we received several inquiries regarding the rumors regarding Andy Reid and Jon Gruden. This was simply a rumor and there is no basis to it at all. It is simply not true.”
Eckel told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he was not lying but just passing along information about which he had no knowledge.
Zavala, for her part, apologized via Twitter to the fans of her hometown: “Philly, I’m sorry. I made a mistake by trusting a source that turned out to not be credible at all.”
03-08-2011 09:39 AM
Re: Kyle Eckel triggers false rumor about Andy Reid being fired