On Thursday night, the Boston Herald published a report from writer Ron Borges claiming that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was threatening to skip off-season workouts if he did not receive a significant pay raise, according to "sources close to the league’s Most Valuable Player." The impetus for the demand, Borges wrote, was that Brady wanted to be compensated "similar to what his former protege, Jimmy Garoppolo, will receive from the San Francisco 49ers.”
Garoppolo became the "highest-paid player" in the NFL yesterday signing a five-year contract extension worth $137.5 million in
Monopoly NFL money. Brady, meanwhile, has consistently drawn praise for reworking his deals to save the Pats cap space, so this would be a little bit out of character for him. However, if you take into account ESPN's earlier report of friction between Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft, you could almost believe it.
In that ESPN story, Brady came off as fairly petty when it came to his then-backup Garoppolo. Seeing the younger quarterback as a threat, the story goes, Brady refused to mentor him, iced him out of his hocus-pocus health program when he got hurt, and was downright giddy after Kraft forced Belichick to trade him.
With that frame of reference, Brady being salty about his former understudy's new contract and wanting to make Jimmy G money makes sense. But when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In the end, Borges fell for the text equivalent of a fake Adam Schefter tweet: Some news hits—in this case, Garoppolo signing a massive extension—and someone impersonating a trusted source makes up a somewhat but not really believable item that is outrageous enough to be a big story, and everyone starts retweeting it because Holy shit Tom Brady is going to sit out?!, only to learn it was Adarn Schefter, not Adam.
And then everyone deletes their tweets. Or their column.