The biggest storyline as far as the coverage of the NFL Draft heading into the 2013 version was the commotion about NFL insiders tipping picks. After a couple years of reporters like Adam Schefter beating television with their reports, ESPN and the NFL Network came to an agreement to not spoil picks ahead of time on television. No tweets. No insider flashes. No draftees on phones in the green room. In truth, ESPN and NFL Network were listening to the fans as a wide majority wanted to first hear the selections from the podium. Both networks by and large held firm to that strategy over the three days of the draft and kept fans happy by preserving the drama of those announcements for their viewers.
But tipping picks on television and tipping picks on Twitter should be two separate things. Just because ESPN hid Adam Schefter's blackberry didn't mean picks weren't being tipped by others. A number of NFL reporters NOT working for ESPN and NFL Network were free to try and do what they always do - break news. One of those individuals was Jason La Canfora of CBS, who was under no pressure, edict, or moral obligation to stop doing his job to protect the television product that is the draft. He even warned followers last Wednesday:
To all the Tweets about people unfollowing me, I have a job to do and if you dont want the info, that's cool. I get it. No one has to follow— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 24, 2013
I'm not trying to win votes and for every person unfollowing, others will want the info. It's about reporting info, not silly Twitter count— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 24, 2013
La Canfora also tweeted the link to an interview at the Sherman Report that specifically said he would be tweeting any and all draft information (aka tipping picks) as often and as soon as possible...
How will I approach covering the draft Thurs nigh, including on Twitter?:shermanreport.com/no-restriction…— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 24, 2013
At this point it should have been clear that La Canfora would be trying to have the draft picks before television viewers. And it was a great situation for him with his top competition (Schefter, Mortensen, Glazer) not engaged in tweeting picks. La Canfora had the breaking news space almost to himself, which at any other time of year would be a reporter's dream.
Nevertheless, throughout the entire draft, people on Twitter were angry at Jason La Canfora for doing what he said he was going to do. Very. Angry.
Unfollowing people like @jasonlacanfora tipping picks doesn't matter when others I follow RT him— Mikey (@fsmikey) April 27, 2013
@jasonlacanfora stop fucking tipping picks— Nick Whalen (@N__ickk) April 27, 2013
@jasonlacanfora dude are you fucking high? They don't pick for another 2 picks— DaltOnFire ✌ (@dloman62) April 27, 2013
@jasonlacanfora that is what you get for leaking picks.— PDS (@PatDStat) April 27, 2013
@jasonlacanfora Hey moron, my aren't you tipping picks today? Finish a job when you start it, loser!— Ryan Stern (@RStern33BSP) April 27, 2013
@jasonlacanfora done tipping picks draft nerd?I made 350$ thanks to you. Keep em coming draft monkey— Scranton Strangler (@Scrntnstrnglr) April 27, 2013
@jasonlacanfora quit tipping picks, you're ruining half the fun of the draft for us normal people here at home— Del Nolfi III (@What_the_del) April 27, 2013
“@jasonlacanfora: Bears taking Bostic” instead of tipping picks, maybe you should just try to be correct?— Mike Oldfather (@wildcatmo) April 26, 2013
.@jasonlacanfora Stop tipping picks you douche bag— Sky (@ya_boy_hollywud) April 26, 2013
@jasonlacanfora Quit tipping picks douche— Joe Siedlak (@JSiedlak) April 26, 2013
@jasonlacanforaplease stop tipping picks,making things so anti climactic— Dr.Death (@26DrDeath) April 26, 2013
@jasonlacanfora thanks for tipping picks... UNFOLLOWED— Jake Brahney (@Jakerbaker58) April 26, 2013
@jasonlacanfora stop tipping picks douchebag!— timothy mildrich (@mctimmy83) April 26, 2013
@jasonlacanfora Stop tipping picks!!!WTF man!!!— B.J. Boyce (@gq2scoops) April 26, 2013
@jasonlacanfora whether we follow u or not someone we do will RT u tipping the picks. Nfl fans now cant use twitter during the draft, thanks— Jamesballanger (@BJamesie) April 26, 2013
@jasonlacanfora QUIT TIPPING THE PICKS!!!!!!!!!!!!— Barry Holland (@louisianajedi) April 26, 2013
@jasonlacanfora STOP FUCKING TIPPING PICKS— Conner (@Conner_87) April 26, 2013
@jasonlacanfora Way to break the gentlemens agreement about not tipping picks— Nicholas Krotec (@NKrotec) April 26, 2013
@jasonlacanfora Cheers for tipping picks you're such a good "journalist"— Cian O'Connor (@Cianoff) April 26, 2013
Is it really Jason La Canfora's fault that...
A) His own followers couldn't get or didn't understand the memo that he was going to tip picks.
B) His followers continued to follow him after they discovered he was tipping picks.
C) His followers didn't understand that he wasn't beholden to the agreement between ESPN and NFL Network since he works for neither ESPN nor the NFL Network.
D) Other people on Twitter didn't understand that tweets can be shared and "retweeted" and being on Twitter carries an inherent risk of discovering picks being tipped.
Obviously, the answer is yes. What a jerk.
It is as simple as closing out Twitter and watching the TV instead of looking at your phone. Morons.
Fans who don't want to be "spoiled" one minute early during the NFL draft are the worst kind of people.
For what it is worth, I was not near a television for most of the NFL draft, and La Canfora's tweets helped keep me in the loop.
Just so we can be clear on what is happening here:
A journalist is reporting accurate and sourced information as it breaks....and is getting chewed out by his readers because he's "spoiling" what they're seeing on a television broadcast specifically designed to generate ratings and ad revenue by withholding said information.
This is a thing that happened.
@AndrewWelter Yes. And grown adults obsess over the draft ... We talkin' about The Draft, Not a game, not a game, not a game. We talkin' about the Draft. Why do NFL fans obsess over this. You won't know FOR years if your team did well and it's been shown pretty conclusively that the "experts" predictions of who will be good and who won't aren't very accurate. I'm a college football fan, so I want to see my team's guys get paid and go to good organizations, but I can cover that in about 10 minutes on the Sunday of the Draft. And note that most of ESPN's draft content is behind their pay wall. People PAY extra for this.