Vikings fans have quickly shifted from #KirkWatch to #SheldonWatch now that QB Kirk Cousins is signed, sealed and delivered while free agent defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson’s decision is pending.
But that doesn’t equal anything definitive. And unfortunately, with the frenzy to create news very much in play, a discerning reader — even a Vikings fan craving updates — needs to be wary of false reports.
We had a prime example already Tuesday morning of how the news machine can sometimes break. A Twitter account under the handle “ImRKnapp” tweeted, “Former
#Seahawks DE Sheldon Richardson has agreed to a 3 year deal with the #Vikings im told.”
As of noon, that tweet had been liked 370 times and retweeted more than 200 times. The tweeter claims to be from the site MMQB while also being an ESPN Insider — the first red flag since those are competing sites. It’s an unverified account (second red flag), from which the first tweet was sent three days ago (giant flashing red light) and the photo of the alleged “Richard Knapp” claiming to be the author is actually the first image you find if you Google “creepy white guy” (OK, that’s actually pretty funny).
But plenty of people believed it — and the message got amplified when Bleacher Report picked up the tweet and turned it into a story about Richardson signing with the Vikings citing ImRKnapp as the source.
Bleacher Report has since deleted the story, but the damage was done. There are probably people right now who believe Richardson to the Vikings is a done deal.
Richardson did end up signing with the Vikings on Friday, though it was a one-year deal and not three.
As always, this is a good reminder: Consider the source before you believe anything, no matter how much you want it to be true.