I’ve never claimed to be an over-the-top NFL or sports “expert.” Truth be told, my sources regarding the NFL aren’t much better than those used by any of you. I’m simply a sports fan that, long ago, learned that he could make some cash writing about different events and sports, in general. I even joked about “turning heel” on my Twitter account after posting my recent NFL power rankings. The one thing I’ve always tried to do, however, is obtain all of the facts before posting a news story on either AC or my Examiner page.
Unfortunately, not everybody practices the same method of “Internet journalism.” At approximately 8 pm on Wednesday night, several websites picked up a story from a “Dallas reporter” claiming that Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry, who was involved in an accident earlier in the day, had passed away. The Dallas reporter had posted this and several other updates on his Twitter account.
Just one problem. The account was a fake, as was the story. The person continued posting several ridiculous lies regarding the Chris Henry situation, stating that he had spoken with the head coach of the Bengals and that the fiancee of Chris Henry was “taken away in handcuffs.”
Several sports and news blogs, including the popular Deadspin website, ran with this story without confirming that Chris Henry had actually died. At the time, Henry was still very much alive but on life support. Hours after the rumors of the death of Chris Henry began, agents for Henry released statements confirming that Henry was alive and “fighting for his life.” Blogs then rushed to remove posts regarding the death of Chris Henry but not before receiving what must have been thousands of hits on that particular story.
I’m not going to post any links to the Twitter account in order to avoid giving this disgraceful joke of a human being the recognition he/she so desperately craves. Sadly, there are only two reasons I can think of as to why anybody would lie about the death of Chris Henry or any 26 year old.
A. The individual in question is a pathetic excuse for a human being with such little self worth that he/she feels the need to take advantage of a life-and-death situation in order to get faceless, nameless people on Twitter and other websites to talk about him/her.
B. The individual or website in question is looking to obtain the highest page views/ratings as possible.
The latter occurs on every website, including Associated Content. Even I am guilty of attempting to obtain these page views. After all, I posted my Chris Henry piece only minutes after it was confirmed that Henry had passed away. The difference between myself, respected Internet and other journalists and news outlets is that I waited until it was confirmed that Chris Henry had died from his injuries. Could I have received double or possibly triple the page views by posting a story stating that Chris Henry had died if I had posted it on Wednesday night? Certainly. Lying or joking around about the death of a 26 year old man, however, is something you’ll never see on this AC account page.
Deadspin will not lose a single reader for posting a story about the death of Chris Henry roughly ten hours before he died. The Twitter accounts (there are now several fake Twitter accounts exploiting the death of Chris Henry, none of which you will ever see linked on this page or any of my stories. This includes comments. Don’t post the links. I will remove them.) will remain for days and weeks until the person posting the lies gets bored. What you, the Internet reader, must remember is that people and websites such as the ones I’ve mentioned will always exist. People will always be looking to exploit stories such as the death of Chris Henry for one reason or another. Countless Internet writers will post stories searching for nothing more than ad revenue generated by page views.
Fortunately, there are also numerous, numerous Internet writers who post stories based solely on truth. Not all of them work for ESPN or Yahoo Sports. There are at least six sports writers on Associated Content alone that can be trusted as credible and even interesting sports journalists. To find them, however, you, the reader, will need to put in the effort in order to avoid Internet scammers such as the unnamed Twitter poster. Unfortunately, that’s something that many on Twitter and other social networking websites just aren’t willing to do.
For more: Read Bengals WR Chris Henry Dies here and Follow NYGExaminer (me) on Twitter