Chris Mortensen, whose job is to ask questions, will not allow others to question those questions.
Mortensen, whose reporting for ESPN effectively kicked off the controversy that came to be known as Deflategate, canceled a scheduled appearance Friday morning on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan.” The hosts’ stated plan to question Mortensen’s initial report that 11 of the New England Patriots’ 12 footballs used in the AFC Championship Game were deflated 2 PSI below the minimum — a report later found to be false — apparently led to Mortensen’s decision.
“You guys made a mistake by drumming up business for the show and how I would address my reporting for the first time,” Mortensen told WEEI, according to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio. “I will not allow WEEI, (Patriots owner Robert) Kraft or anybody to make me the centerpiece of a story that has been misreported far beyond anything I did in the first 48 hours. Maybe when the lawsuit is settled, in Brady’s favor, I hope, we can revisit. Don’t call.”
It’s understandable Mortensen wouldn’t want to hop in the interrogation chair with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, who aren’t always the kindest of hosts, but one wonders why he’d agree to appear in the first place. A Boston-based sports radio show is obligated to ask questions on behalf of its fans, and Patriots fans are pretty mad at Mortensen’s false report that set off Deflategate.
If Dennis and Callahan didn’t question Mortensen about his report, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs. And if Mortensen didn’t expect such questions, he’s more than a little naive.
Or, as Florio puts it, “I like and respect Mort. … But his false report should be the centerpiece of the story. Because without that false report, there is no story. More specifically, without that false report, there is no finding of cheating. … It made another Ted Wells investigation logical, it put the Patriots on the defensive, and it kept the Patriots from responding to the accurate PSI readings by pointing out that, on one of the two air-pressure gauges used, they fall squarely within the range expected by the Ideal Gas Law.”
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@ESPNNFL