Social Media Blasts Adam Schefter for Controversial Deshaun Watson Tweet: ‘You Have Zero Credibility’

ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter found himself going viral for all of the wrong reasons, and he had a tweet involving Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to thank this time.

Schefter, one of the most recognizable national reporters in sports, has been involved in multiple social media kerfuffles over the years. The most recent instance came on Friday, March 11, when the Michigan graduate’s post about Watson’s legal issues made him Twitter’s main character for the night.

Adam Schefter referenced ‘the truth’ when tweeting an update about Deshaun Watson’s legal issues

At 4:35 p.m. ET on Friday afternoon, Schefter tweeted seven words that could have a significant impact on the 2022 NFL offseason.

“Deshaun Watson will not face criminal charges,” Schefter wrote after a Texas grand jury declined to indict Watson following a police investigation and 22 lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct. Although the veteran quarterback could still face league discipline, the lack of criminal charges could quickly make him a popular trade target.

Five minutes later, Schefter tried his hand at legal analysis.

“This is why Deshaun Watson, from the beginning, welcomed a police investigation: He felt he knew that the truth would come out. And today, a grand jury did not charge him on any of the criminal complaints.”

Adam Schefter

Objectively speaking, Schefter’s tweet made — and still makes — plenty of sense. Watson wasn’t afraid to hesitate to work with the police because the quarterback, not the reporter, felt “the truth” would come out, and he would not find himself facing criminal charges.

Twitter did not see things the same way.

Social media quickly blasted Schefter for the tweet

Perhaps the worst part about tweeting, texting, and anything involving writing is how easy it is for tone to be misinterpreted or lost entirely. Such proved to be the case immediately after Schefter pressed “send” on his Watson analysis.

ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, who was a practicing attorney before becoming a full-time NFL analyst, quoted Schefter’s post and addressed the veteran reporter’s wording.

“This tweet reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the legal system actually works,” Florio wrote.

The Toronto Star’s Bruce Arthur called Schefter a “soul-seller” in a quote-tweet. SB Nation’s Kofie Yeboah accused the reporter of “nasty work.”

Few had stronger reactions than USA Today’s Nancy Armour, who blasted Schefter’s original tweet and the attempt at clarification.

“Educate yourself on difficulties in prosecuting sexual assault cases. Hell, educate yourself on the fricking legal system. Ignorance of this level does so much harm to women. Do better @AdamSchefter. Much, much, MUCH better.”

Nancy Armour

Jashvina Shah, a national reporter for College Hockey News, followed Armour in going on the offensive. 

“Granted you have zero credibility but this is truly disgusting,” Shah wrote

Did Schefter need to apologize for the tweet?

To his credit, Schefter issued a follow-up tweet at 6:47 p.m., nearly two hours after the controversial post in question, and acknowledged the first tweet was poorly worded and “deserved a proper response.”

“It was intended to provide insight into the strategy of Watson’s legal team from its POV,” Schefter wrote. “I should have been clearer. As legal experts have explained, a lack of an indictment alone does not mean someone is innocent.”

Did Schefter need to apologize? The decision certainly didn’t hurt, especially considering how vitriolic the responses were throughout Friday night. People appeared genuinely offended and angered by his tweet, as is their right. 

However, this reeks of misinterpreted tone rather than intentional ignorance or narrative-shifting. Schefter clearly wrote Watson felt the truth — and whether or not that’s an accurate term is another conversation —- would emerge. At no point did Schefter himself say he felt the truth was that Watson did nothing wrong.

The lesson here might simply be reading a tweet out loud or asking for feedback, especially when he has over 9 million Twitter followers.

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