For any of you who heard Mike Holmgren’s press conference which took place on Thursday, you know one of the hottest topics was the Peyton Hillis contract extension and it’s surrounding debacle. There is no need to go into anything deeper as Craig has dissected it at length yesterday and again this morning.
All of the big hitters in the Cleveland sports media were in the room. Yet, the biggest newspaper in the city, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, managed to completely mislead their readers with their headline in today’s print.
See the picture above.
If you just picked up a paper this morning and read the headline, you’d think that the extension was off the table, the Browns were going to play out the year with Hillis, and then let him walk. In small print below you see “President says team would bid for back.”
I expect something like this from the New York Post, not the PD.
Digging deeper into the actual quotes, you see that the discussions have been tabled for now (“nobody has called off negotiations. No one has said ‘OK, lets wait until the end.'”). Yet judging by the big “HOLMGREN: BROWNS READY TO LET HILLIS BE FREE AGENT” headline, you’d think we had another Manny Ramirez/CC Sabathia/Cliff Lee situation going on, as in the Browns will end the season with him and watch him sign elsewhere.
Now I know those situations are completely different in the NFL since there is a salary cap and franchise player tag, but nonetheless, the headline was completely misleading. Someone behind the scenes also knew that headline was a mistake.
Yesterday after the press conference, that same bad headline was running at the top of Cleveland.com, the PD’s host website. Yet if you checked back about six hours later, that title of the piece had been changed. Check this:
Things have changed in the way we all consume our information. I am the only 35-year-old person (or younger) I know who still gets the newspaper delivered to my house. I don’t know the stats, but I would assume that more people ages 18-35 are reading the PD online than in print. But when you see such a bold headline that is completely misleading like this within the print version, it seems to validate it more, despite the fact that what was said was essentially false.
Just my two cents, but that headline was irresponsible and misconstrued.