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Peter King Offered to Quit SI for Reporting Deflategate Lies

SourceESPN’s Chris Mortensen still draws the ire of New England Patriots fans after his false report in January 2015 helped turn Deflategate into a national NFL scandal.

Many forget, however, that Peter King confirmed Mortensen’s report. …  Speaking with The Athletic’s Richard Deitch on Deitch’s sports media podcast, the longtime NFL reporter said he remains “totally ashamed” of his Deflategate reporting, calling it and another erroneous report about the Ray Rice domestic violence case the two biggest mistakes he’s made in his 29-year career at Sports Illustrated.

King, who announced earlier this week he will be leaving SI for a job at NBC, also revealed he offered to resign in the wake of his Deflategate mishap. … “ I got a significant fact wrong when I confirmed Chris Mortensen’s story about the (Patriots’) footballs being more than two pounds under pressure,” King said on the podcast. “And in both cases, I admitted it. In one case — the Patriots case — I offered my resignation to Chris Stone, and they said no. But I would have resigned, because that is something that you cannot get wrong. … I got it wrong, and I deserve all the criticism for that that comes my way.”

As they say, it takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong. And as I say, it takes an even bigger man to have been right all along. Which I was. From Minute One I called bullshit on Deflategate. And I think the grand total of writers who can say that is me, Dave and Feitelberg. And that’s it. Everyone else to some extent bought into the lies from the most carefully orchestrated witch hunt of our times. And despite all the evidence to the contrary, there are still plenty of anti-science Deflategate Flat Earthers out there clinging to the falsehoods they gobbled down like so many Spaghetti-Os.

So, while I’d love to accuse Peter King of being the hero of his own story and doubting that any Journo would walk away from a lucrative 25 year career because he repeated what everyone else was reporting, I won’t. Instead, I’ll take the high road. And take him at his word. Partly because I was doing a weekly segment with him at my WEEI job while all this was going on and he was one of the first national guys to do a 180 on Deflategate and issuing mea culpas. But mostly just because that’s the kind of warm-hearted, forgiving Christian I am.

But because King’s bosses turned down his offer to quit, this means that the only person who ever lost their job over Deflategate reporting is Kelly Naqi, the ESPN reporter who went on OTL repeating the story Mike Kensil gave her that the Patriots tried to slip unapproved kicking balls into the Colts game. Only to have Adam Schefter come on and say the person slipping those balls in was a league employee who was stealing the official K-balls. She has never been heard from again.

I guess in a way, we’re fortunate no one else did what King offered to. Because if every J who reported the Deflategate lies as facts quit their jobs over it, unemployment would have spiked. Millions would have been out of work and become a drain on the economy.  As a matter of fact, it might have just left me, Dave and Feits and I for one wouldn’t want to support their sorry asses when it’s been so much fun ridiculing them for being so dead wrong.

@jerrythornton1