ESPN’s Adam Schefter Under Fire for Dwayne Haskins Tweet

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    Dwayne Haskins passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during a preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 12, 2021.

    On the morning of Saturday April 9, ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter broke the news that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins had died after being hit by a motor vehicle in South Florida, with his initial report coming via Twitter. Almost immediately, Schefter found himself taking scathing criticism for how he highlighted Haskins’ struggles in the NFL, even as he delivered the tragic news. Specifically, Schefter related how Haskins was “a standout at Ohio State before struggling to catch on with Washington and Pittsburgh in the NFL.”

    The reaction of former Ohio State/NFL quarterback Cardale Jones is a representative example. Jones tweeted what he believes would have been a more appropriate message, taking care to note that “(Haskins’) career ups and downs have (nothing) to do with him unfortunately losing his life…. Let his family & friends grieve instead of throwing shade.”

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    Adam Schefter Deleted His Initial Tweet

    Schefter went on to delete his initial tweet, as you can see from the reply from his colleague Brooke Pryor, who covers the Steelers for ESPN. Tt was replaced with a simple, straightforward message reporting Haskins’ death.

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    But countless observers replied to Schefter with screenshots of his original message, along with pointed criticisms regarding his judgment.

    For example, veteran Steelers cornerback Joe Haden, currently an unrestricted free agent, admonished Schefter for his work.

    For his part, Josh Carney of the Beaver County Times in Pennsylvania encouraged young journalists to take the opportunity to learn from what he has seen from Schefter.

    One NFL fan went on to lament how Schefter “turned (the tragic news) into a scouting report.”

    Meanwhile, other Twitter users called for Schefter to be suspended by ESPN, or even to be fired.

    Mike Tomlin Issues Statement

    Contrast Schefter’s words with those of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who issued a statement in the wake of Haskins’ death. It’s one that read, in part:

    “I am devastated and at a loss for words with the unfortunate passing of Dwayne Haskins. He quickly became part of our Steelers family upon his arrival in Pittsburgh and was one of our hardest workers, both on the field and in our community. Dwayne was a great teammate, but even more so a tremendous friend to so many. I am truly heartbroken….”

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    The Steelers initially signed Haskins in January 2021 and he served as Pittsburgh’s No. 3 quarterback last season, behind longtime starter Ben Roethlisberger and veteran backup Mason Rudolph. The Steelers re-signed Haskins to another one-year contract on March 16, 2022, having tendered him as a restricted free agent two days earlier. He was expected to compete with Rudolph and free agent acquisition Mitch Trubisky for playing time this coming season.

    Haskins entered the NFL in 2019, having been selected by Washington No. 15 overall out of Ohio State. According to Pro Football Reference, he appeared in 16 regular-season games with Washington before joining the Steelers. The Highland Park, N.J. native would have turned 25 years old on May 3.

    According to a Saturday morning tweet from Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Haskins was “apparently headed to the airport to return to Pittsburgh when the accident occurred.”

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