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Chris Mortensen is Doing Better. And Still Lying About Deflategate

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Peter King on SI has a long profile of Chris Mortensen. Understandably, most of it has to do with the extreme treatment he’s been undergoing for throat cancer. You never know about someone’s prognosis. Every last one of us has a friend or family member who was facing some grim prospects, but then recovered. And, unfortunately, vice versa. But things seem to be looking good for Mortensen. Which is great. Because the sooner he’s fully recovered, the sooner we can go back at him for being the Father of Deflategate, a beef that is far from over.

Eventually, King asks Mortensen about the infamous Tweet:

Mort tweet

“Do you regret not having an issued a correction on that original Tweet?” I asked.

“Yeah, I do,’’ he said. “We did on the website page eventually. But I should have tweeted something … I would have had no problem whatsoever [with a correction] because I had already asked them to clarify. Correct my story, please. And the Patriots felt like they were being smeared, because obviously it was in the furor that it created. I would have been fine with [a correction].’’

The correction wouldn’t have mattered much to the six-state region that loved the Patriots. New England was enflamed over the thought that Mortensen’s reporting spawned the NFL’s investigation—likely a flawed premise, but there was no convincing Patriot fans that the NFL would investigated the issue thoroughly anyway—and took it out on him. ESPN sits on the southern edge of Patriots country, in central Connecticut. Mortensen and his wife rented a house there for the 2015 season, and he eventually sent her back home to Arkansas after some death threats he received. “I got some that concerned me.’’ But, Mortensen said: “I think it is absolutely ludicrous to suggest reporting like that led to the NFL hiring Ted Wells and spending $8 million on [investigating Deflategate].”

There won’t be universal agreement on that, the same way there wasn’t agreement on the non-deletion of the tweet. He said he got a tweet recently—he assumes from a Patriots backer—that said, “You haven’t died yet?” It made him laugh, he said, because it’s the kind of sharp barb he might throw at a friend.

First of all, they’ve given a name to the place people go to issue death threats to others. It’s called the Internet. If someone has told you they’re going to kill you or simply that they’re rooting for your cancer to win, you’re entitled to feel any feelings you want, with the exception of feeling special. Hell, two years ago I was having surgery to repair a torn meniscus and some guy commented on my own Facebook page that he hopes I drop dead on the operating table. So welcome to the club, Mort. There are too many members for us to hand out jackets.

Second, I’m glad Mortensen is doing well enough at least to point out that everything he says here is 100 percent, Grade A, USDA prime bullshit. All of it. A pack of lies shrink wrapped in a protective coating of revisionist history. Let me interject here to say I saw an early edit of the Deflategate documentary Four Games in Fall:

…which has given me a full blown case of the nerdrage I’ve never really lost. Mortensen’s claim that he wanted to take the Tweet down is a flat out lie. And contradicts everything he’s said until now. At different times he stood by the 2.0 psi figures. At others, he hid behind that last refuge of a social media scoudrel, the “I don’t know much about how Twitter works” excuse. Once he blew off an interview on WEEI at the last minute without explanation. Then he popped up on some Morning Zoo “Crazy Ira and the Douche” type show where he wouldn’t be challenged and claimed he got a call from Mr. Kraft and Jonathan Kraft and they apologized to him. Another lie. Finally, the article that had sat on ESPN’s site for months as fact was edited to say the footballs were “significantly under-inflated.” Also, Fake News.

But the biggest, most blatant lie of all is that business of how his report didn’t lead to … everything. The first rock rolling down the hill that created the Ted Wells avalanche. At minimum, Mortensen was a useful idiot, putting out false reports. At most, he was a co-conspirator, willingly publishing anything Mike Kensil and the Commissioner’s office told him to, knowing full well they were lies. And then not only not correcting the record, but leaving them out there to fool the gullible long after the truth was known.

The bottom line is we’re now almost to November, 2017. Chris Mortensen didn’t think he’d live this long, but he has and that’s great. I also didn’t think he’s still be making up Deflategate lies, but he is. And that’s not so great. But get well soon. We still have much to discuss.

@jerrythornton1