After about half of a day of uncertainty—no thanks to Hall of Fame writer Peter Gammons—the Robinson Cano performance-enhancing drug rumors can be put to bed as false.
A Major League Baseball official with knowledge of the league's drug testing confirmed that New York Yankees All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano did not test positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
This is no doubt great news for the sport, and more specifically the Yankees and their fans. Losing Cano would have been a huge blow to the team's playoff hopes, and the league would've had to deal with another PED black eye had one of its best players tested positive.
But thankfully, all that will be avoided.
However, one can't help but be taken aback by the lack of care that was taken in reporting such rumors about Cano.
The first guilty party in this whole mess is sports reporter Dan Tordjman of Eyewitness News in Charlotte, NC, who originally tweeted the untrue rumor about Cano's positive PED test. His account has now become protected, but Zach Stoloff of NESN.com shared the original tweet with us in a piece he wrote.
It's one thing for some unknown sports reporter to totally botch sharing a piece of information he may or may not have had, but it's another thing for a Hall of Fame baseball writer and analyst like Peter Gammons to take the unconfirmed information and run with it.
Gammons shared what he knew about the Cano rumors in a radio interview which can be heard on CSNNE.com:
"I heard something . . . about three weeks ago," the veteran baseball reporter and analyst said Thursday on 'Felger & Mazz' on WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub). "And, like a lot of things, I've . . . never gotten any confirmation."
Gammons then went on to doubt the rumors:
"I'm not sold on the Cano thing yet," Gammons said. "Especially since most of the time, Scott Boras clients are very careful..."
But just when you think Gammons saved some shred of credibility for himself in this matter, he then goes on to compare it to the Melky Cabrera situation, giving the Cano rumor legs once again:
Now, people are very careful about letting any information out . . . [But] these things do circulate. The one that did turn out to be true -- but, again, I could never get confirmation [even though] I was told by about six sources for five weeks -- was Melky Cabrera (of the Giants, who was suspended for PED use last month)."
Gammons should have been more responsible in the way he handled this situation.
Without anything being confirmed to him, Gammons piled on top of what was a story started by a two-bit sports reporter from North Carolina. Instead of shooting the rumors down as nothing more than just that, Gammons added legitimacy to the controversy by stoking the flames with what he said he heard.
But in fact, it wasn't reliable information at all and the only reason it was slightly more credible than that of Tordjman's is because Gammons is well known and well respected around the sport.
Gammons should know better that the things he says, whether he confirms the information or not, are taken as gold by the majority of the baseball world. He has developed a long-standing trust over the years in the MLB, so naturally people trust Gammons when he speaks.
With that being said, Gammons should have chosen his words more carefully and not added legitimacy to what was otherwise an unconfirmed and false report.
After this mess, the respect for Gammons and the job he does could very well change. Or at the very least, it could certainly change with Yankee fans around the globe.
Gammons is a Boston native and a former Boston Red Sox writer from The Boston Globe, so naturally that connection will be made over and over again. It is a legit connection, however, and could explain why Gammons handled this situation so poorly.
I would be interested to see if Gammons would be so quick to spew unconfirmed information out if it was about his hometown Red Sox and their best player.
In the digital age we live in now, new information is always coming out incredibly fast, but hard news journalists must be careful before taking the lid off a story before it is confirmed.
It's not surprising that a hack like Tordjman screwed up badly, but it is a sad day in the world of sports journalism when a professional and baseball insider the likes of Peter Gammons adds fuel to that screw up by speculating on a rumor he doesn't even know is true.