Brandon Marshall, Miami Dolphins: Slippery Slope Journalism Unfair To Both

Robert HoffmanCorrespondent IMay 20, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 13: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Colts won 28-16.(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

By now, the whole world (slight exaggeration) knows that Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall had a routine surgical procedure on his right hip—which will keep him out of organized team activities until Training Camp.

Despite the Miami Dolphins' general policy of keeping such information private, local and national media dug and speculated until they had a story.

And one that far exceeded the boundaries of the initial news.

What spawned during the "reporting" phase is one of the paramount problems in our global media age today.

It's called the slippery-slope fallacy of reasoning.

Here's how it works: take one piece of information and come up with a series of drastic resulting effects, leading up to a final conclusion that is exaggerated and usually some sort of "doomsday prophecy."

All of sudden—according to "credible" sources—Marshall wasn't going to be ready for the start of training camp.

Then what?

Because he had a procedure on the other hip last season, reporters chimed in that Marshall's long-term health was going to be a problem

Today, a certain media personality implied that Miami's medical staff should be called on the carpet for a pattern of incompetence.

After all, this is the same medical staff that made the decision to go with Daunte Culpepper's wrecked knee instead of Drew Brees's shoulder when labeled "genius" Nick Saban pulled off the ill-fated trade in 2006.

Now, according to the aforementioned media member, the Miami medical staff missed the boat again on Marshall's injury.

The resulting suggestion was the shocker.

Miami should consider cutting ties with Marshall after one year because it would only cost them two second-round draft choices and 9.5 million dollars.

I suppose it’s not impossible for these things to happen, but it’s not likely—by any stretch of the imagination.

More importantly, the conjecture is unfair to a player who has tried to do everything right since joining his new team.

It's also unfair to a team that probably wouldn't have such a closed-door media policy if reporters were more apt to give the news.

Instead, they usually speculate down that slippery slope...


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