The Boston Herald is “looking into” a hoax report by columnist Ron Borges involving New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holding out for a new contract, sports editor Sean Leahy told Pro Football Talk on Friday.
Borges’ report cited unnamed “sources” close to Brady who claimed the quarterback was willing to skip offseason training if he didn’t receive a significant pay raise similar to former Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who inked a new five-year, $137.5 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday.
However, WEEI, a local radio station in Boston, revealed that one of its listeners was the so-called “source” who sent Borges a text claiming to be Brady’s agent, Don Yee, which led to the bogus article.
“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,” WEEI caller “Nick in Boston” said. “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.’”
The Herald has since pulled the column from its website.
It’s worth noting that Borges cited “sources” as in multiple people claiming to have knowledge of Brady’s rumored situation, rather than one random text from someone claiming to be the quarterback’s agent.
The columnist has previously been accused of plagiarism, which led to his departure from the Boston Globe, according to Pro Football Talk. The website also accused Borges of “copying and pasting” their work in the past without giving proper citation.
Fittingly, PFT Commenter, co-host of Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast, shared a tweet in which he jokingly attempted to pull the same stunt on Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio after the incident.
Obviously, the situation isn’t a good look for the Herald or Borges, but at least Patriots fans can breathe a sigh of relief that the quarterback isn’t planning a holdout.
Brady has been known to take pay cuts in the past to help New England bring in more talent. Why anyone would assume a random text from someone claiming the opposite without any real confirmation is bewildering.