Reimer: Ken Laird's phony Gronk report goes viral thanks to unfathomable idiocy

Alex Reimer
April 03, 2018 - 1:43 pm

WEEI photo

Ken Laird’s proclamation that Rob Gronkowski would be traded within the next couple of weeks isn’t the only “Kirk & Callahan” scoop worthy of national attention. K&C’s Twitter account has also shared these big-time stories recently: the name of Ben Volin’s poodle, Evan Drellich’s father’s transient lifestyle, Mut’s horrific negotiation skills, Mut’s lack of Beatles knowledge, Mut’s preference to not work in drive time, Mut’s move to overnights, Mut’s nose sprain during Super Bowl week, and –– who could forget this one –– Mut’s plans to shower with his wife for her birthday

It’s a mystery as to why these reports weren’t surfaced all over the country. They started with the word “breaking,” meaning they must be true.

At least, that was basically NFL reporter Mike Florio’s explanation for writing up Ken's faux Gronk report Tuesday.

The tweet duped Florio, prompting him to post an article on his website, ProFootballTalk, aggregating the nonexistent scoop. “Chances are that (Laird has) heard something from someone about some sort of somewhat plausible move that will happen someday between now and the draft,” Florio wrote in an apparent attempt to tout Ken’s credentials as an NFL Insider. 

Writer Dan O’Shea of 12Up Sports underwent a similar effort, describing Ken as somebody who’s “been around the Boston scene for a while but is not a breaking news reporter either.”

No offense to Ken, but those aren’t exactly the most convincing qualifiers. 

Also, newsbreakers don't typically share bombshell stories like an impending Gronk trade when they're cornered in an argument. Here is the exchange that led to Ken's prediction:

Gerry Callahan: Tell me how (Gronk) was insubordinate?

Ken: 'Me first, me first.' The whole contract last year with incentives based on his personal performance. (Gronkowski) is out there catching touchdowns in meaningless games and celebrating. This is everything Belichick does not want. After the Malcolm Butler thing, it’s going to be even worse. He’s putting his foot down. 

Gerry: So he’s dealing him?

Ken: He is dealing him.

Gerry: He’s dealing him?

Ken: In the next couple of weeks, Gronk is gone. Gone!

When Chris Curtis informed Florio the tweet wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, he chastised the show for not attaching any context to it –– besides the litany of other nonsensical news items that Curtis tweets from the show's account on a daily basis. 

“I’m still scanning the tweet for the setup, the reinforcement, and/or the payoff,” Florio wrote. “I told Curtis I’m not happy about any of this. Needless to say, nothing WEEI ever reports again will be taken seriously in this space. It’s hard enough to keep people up to date on everything that’s happening in the NFL without people throwing gratuitous and unfunny hurdles in our path.”

Reporting on the NFL is important work. How dare anybody interject fun into talking about whether a guy who catches footballs could wear another jersey next season?

When contacted via email, Florio declined additional comment. 

On 12Up Sports, O’Shea also condemns Curtis’ unethical practice of tweeting out a joke. “It's hard to decipher what's real and not in the world of sports rumors without people purposely throwing wrenches into the field,” he writes. “Of course, anyone would take a report coming out of a Boston-based sports radio station seriously.”

That is absolutely not true. It is pretty easy to decipher phony rumors from legitimate reports. As someone who also writes for a living, here is my system: is an actual NFL reporter tweeting the news? If not, then I’m probably going to wait until one of them does. 

Or, sometimes I use my mousepad and scroll down to look at the account’s other tweets. 

It’s apparent neither Florio nor O’Shea did that. If they had, they might have written up the other breaking piece of news from K&C Tuesday: “Evan Drellich sucks at analogies.” 

Comments ()