Leaked emails from the NFL's investigation into sexual harassment and verbal abuse allegations within the Washington Football Team organization revealed ESPN reporter Adam Schefter sent a story on the 2011 lockout to WFT president Bruce Allen before it was published, according to Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times.
On Wednesday, Schefter released a statement addressing the findings.
"Several emails between Allen and journalists are part of the filing too," Farmer and Fenno wrote. "In one of them from July 2011, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter sent Allen the draft of an unpublished story that was published later the same day."
"Please let me know if you see anything that should be added, changed, tweaked," Schefter wrote. "Thanks, Mr. Editor, for that and the trust. Plan to file this to espn about 6 am."
Schefter also provided comments earlier Wednesday on The John Kincade Show:
"I've learned for a long time in this business not to discuss sources or the process or how stories are done. But I would just say that basically it's a common practice to run information past sources. And in this particular case, during a labor-intensive lockout that was a complicated subject that was new to understand, I took the extra rare step, again, to run information past one of the people that I was talking to. You know, it was an important story to fans, a host of others, and that’s the situation."
The story in question was a July 11, 2011, piece written by Schefter and ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The duo broke news that there was a "growing belief" within the league that the NFL and NFLPA could come to terms on a collective bargaining agreement that would be ratified at the July 21 league meetings.
It also included proposed dates for a revised 2011 league calendar because of the lockout as well as remarks from the players' side about a concern that the NFLPA was conceding too much to the league. Schefter and Mortensen noted the rookie wage scale was the "most complex issue" that needed to be addressed.
The CBA did get ratified during those meetings, and the lockout ended July 25.
The 54-year-old Schefter, who is widely known for his breaking news scoops, has worked for ESPN since 2009. His previous stops included the Denver Post and NFL Network.