A local reporter in Boston thought he had enough information to break one of the biggest stories of the NFL offseason on Thursday night, but he has been left with his face completely covered in egg after he was duped by a prankster.
Late Thursday evening, longtime Boston Herald reporter Ron Borges dropped a bombshell story citing sources who informed him that Tom Brady is so angry about Jimmy Garoppolo’s massive contract extension with the 49ers that the Patriots quarterback is planning to hold out until he gets paid more. The report was quickly refuted by Tom E. Curran, who confidently labeled it “off the reservation.”
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) February 9, 2018
Here’s a screenshot of what the column looked like:
— Hilary Sargent (@lilsarg) February 9, 2018
The story was eventually taken down, and neither the Herald nor Borges had addressed it as of Friday morning. Now we know why.
A man who revealed himself as “Nick in Boston” called into WEEI on Friday and explained how he catfished Borges into thinking he was Brady’s agent, Don Yee. The caller explained that someone had tweeted out Borges’ phone number, so he decided to play a prank on Borges by reaching out to him and posing as Yee. Nick shared the surreal text messages that explain how the whole thing went down:
— Kirk & Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) February 9, 2018
It gets worse. Borges did the responsible thing by trying to call “Yee” on the phone to get more of the story. The prankster wasn’t going to answer at first, but he eventually decided to pick up the phone and assumed Borges would realize at that point that he had been duped. He still didn’t.
“Somebody tweeted Ron Borges’ phone number and I just picked it up and for some reason I just thought, ‘Hey, I’ll text him and say I’m Don Yee.’ And he just went with it for some reason,” Nick in Boston told WEEI, as transcribed by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. “Here’s the funny part. Well, it’s all funny but here’s the funnier part: He tried to call me three times and I just didn’t answer. But then I was just like, whatever, screw it, I’ll just call him and he’s gonna know it’s not Don Yee. But I called him and I was just like, ‘Hey, Ronnie, it’s Don.’”
While you have to feel sorry for Borges for getting played that hard, a little common sense could have gone a long way in this instance. Borges has been around the team long enough to know that Brady is constantly taking less money so the Patriots can build contending teams. He also doesn’t seem like the type of guy to hold out, and he certainly wouldn’t be the type of guy to have his agent put the word out to the press in February — just days after the Super Bowl.
We know that there has been a lot more drama than usual going on with the Patriots, and Brady hinted that he may be unhappy with Bill Belichick with some of his social media activity this week. Still, Borges should have known that the story was so outlandish that he needed to do a much better job of confirming that he was actually speaking to Yee. Those are the types of mistakes that a journalist may never recover from.