Cowlishaw’s Bad Tip (Gaffes Of The Year – #9)

  • Glenn Davis

2010 was a banner year for controversy in the world of sports media. From the usual barrage of accidental profanity, to the fairly untrodden territory of Twitter faux pas, up to and including the cultural phenomenon that was athletes taking pictures of their penises and sending them to everybody, this year really did have it all if you enjoyed watching people make fools of themselves.

From now until December 30th we’ll be going through our favorite oopsies from the year that was. So come and join us, won’t you, as we count down the Top Ten Sports Media Gaffes of the Year! Today’s gaffe: Tim Cowlishaw has some bad info.

I don’t hate ESPN’s Around The Horn as much as most people seem to. Sure, I get the principle on which most people hate it it (talking the loudest > saying something substantive), but generally don’t find this problem to be quite as bad on the show as most others. That’s not to say I’d go out of my way to watch it (and I usually don’t watch it, period) – just that when I do, I don’t generally find myself succumbing to the rage the show inspires in so many (like 30 Rock’s writers, for example).

I say all this by way of introducing our #9 sports media gaffe of 2010 – committed by Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News (and, of course, a regular Around The Horn panelist). Cowlishaw, you might remember, reported in August that the Jets and then-holdout All-Pro Darrelle Revis were about to announce they’d agreed to a contract. He was first to report it:

Revis and Jets announce new deal, probably Wednesday. You heard it here first. “Inside information!”

How’d Cowlishaw manage to scoop every Jets beat writer when he’s based in Dallas and, as Gregg Rosenthal of Pro Football Talk noted at the time, “doesn’t focus on football”? Well, as it turned out, it was by having a completely untrue scoop. I’ll sympathize with Cowlishaw ever so slightly on Around The Horn hate. On this? Not so much.

Cowlishaw stuck to his guns (for the most part) at the time. He said his source “has never been wrong” and that it was someone he’d “used before.”

Once the Wednesday on which he said the deal would “probably” happen came and went without an agreement, though, he weighed in again, noting that while it was still possible for Revis to sign within the one-week window Cowlishaw reported, he didn’t sign on the predicted date of Wednesday.

Revis didn’t sign for the rest of that week, either – Cowlishaw wrote his semi-mea-culpa on August 26th. Revis and the Jets finally agreed on September 6 – a full two weeks after Cowlishaw’s initial tweet.

The news didn’t come as especially shocking – no matter how confident Cowlishaw was in his source, Jets beat writers, who logically would have been on top of this news the whole way, never saw the story the same way as Cowlishaw did, a pretty clear warning sign. So Cowlishaw had to live with getting his big scoop entirely wrong…and the combination of wrongness, an All-Pro player, one of nthe most-hyped teams and the league, and one of the biggest storylines of the preseason lands Cowlishaw on our list.

And as for Around The Horn: when Cowlishaw made his first appearance on the program after his report proved false, host Tony Reali started him off with a comically low score as punishment. Cowlishaw couldn’t escape scorn, even among the commonly scorned.

Stay tuned for our #8 gaffe, when a hockey legend got extremely misty-eyed on live television.

The Top Ten Sports Media Gaffes of 2010

10. Chris McKendry’s Unfortunate Slip-up

9. Tim Cowlishaw’s Darrelle Revis “scoop”

8. Jeremy Roenick Cries on the Air

7. Mike Wise’s Fake Twitter Flap

6. Jay Mariotti’s Arrest Brings Joy To Everyone

5. The Media Vs. Cam Newton

4. Karen Owen and the Duke Sex List