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Offseason primer - On rumors and speculation

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Over the next few months we're going to hear a lot of rumors and a lot of speculation... before it all starts to get too crazy, I thought it was important to make a distinction between the two and set some rules about how we'll report this stuff.

A rumor or report is when a reporter tells you that sources close to a team or a player have told them something. When a reporter or analyst simply tells what they think could be a good fit or what they think a team might do based on need or previous performance... that's speculation. Speculation is fine, we do it all the time and I'll certainly link to it if I see some... but it's important to know the difference when we read it.

Case in point... This latest John Clayton story about a possible trade of Donovan McNabb. Here is what he said on ESPN's "Mike & Mike" show

If Favre does not return, "then I think move number one is going to be looking at Donovan McNabb," Clayton said. "Now I think the question is do you give up a first round pick, which I think is unlikely. I think what you try to do is find a way to get him for a second round pick."

"Two things have to happen and that would have to be the retirements," Clayton said. "If (Favre) and Kurt Warner are going to be retired, then there are going to be two possible trade outlets. If let's say both decide to come back, then I don't see another team - maybe Carolina could do it - but there's only going to be three of four options at most for a McNabb trade and if you can't get trade value, you can't release McNabb. Right now, I think his future in Philly is dependent on retirements."

Quite clearly that's speculation. At no point does he claim to have inside info nor does he claim this is a report based on anything he's heard. It's just a veteran NFL reporter saying what he thinks might happen. Is he trying to be a bit salacious and pique the interest of Eagles fans? Sure... but there's no dishonesty or anything here. The dishonesty comes when certain media outlets misrepresent his words.

Some media outlets, including even NBC sports labeled this a "rumor" and twisted his words to make it look like he was doing more than simply speculation.They titled the story "Report: Vikes to pursue McNabb if Favre walks"

According to ESPN's John Clayton, the Vikings will "make a play" for Donovan McNabb if Brett Favre retires.

Again, if you look at what he actually said, NBC has completely misrepresented it. I doubt they don't understand that it's speculation, they're just trying to make some link bait.

I'll credit some of our own local media who do get it.