As nearly 13 million viewers witnessed what turned out to be a surprisingly competitive matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers – the Chiefs had led during regulation for the first time all season, but, alas, lost in overtime – they also saw star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger go down with a right shoulder injury in the third quarter.
As the remainder of the game played out, ESPN’s resident reporter/columnist/Norm MacDonald punching bag Rick Reilly was sending his hundreds of followers on Twitter updates on Big Ben’s injury, including one where he shared that he was “just guessing Roethlisberger was leaving to get an MRI.” Just to confirm, he reached out to a team spokesman who denied he was getting medical attention, then moments later did confirm via Big Ben’s agent that he was going to get his shoulder looked at.
To many journalists, such events aren’t a big deal. NFL players get hurt all the time. We assume they’re going to get treatment for their injuries.
But that wasn’t enough for Reilly. He thought the fact that he kept his Twitter followers updated on Roethlisberger’s status, he should be the Chris Broussard of this story.
And whoever was left of the 13 million “Monday Night Football” viewers got to see it for themselves.
On ESPN’s “MNF” postgame show, the host threw it back to Pittsburgh, where Reilly had joined Stuart Scott, Trent Dilfer and Steve Young to discuss Roethlisberger’s shoulder injury.
But, thanks to a premature cutaway, not before we see Reilly make this demand to Scott: “Will you say that I had this first on Twitter?”
At that moment: silence, microphone feedback, and a very pissed Young giving Reilly a “WTF” look.
Sure enough, Scott undeservedly told viewers, as he brought Reilly into the discussion: “You had it first on Twitter.”
Reilly obviously didn’t think the crew was back on the air yet – otherwise he probably wouldn’t have outed himself to millions of viewers.
If he really had pride in his reporting, Reilly wouldn’t need to beg for credit for the story as it was developing. Perhaps he would have started his on-air soliliquy with, “Yes, and as I first reported on Twitter, Ben Roethlisberger has been taken to a hospital…”
Pretty pathetic, if you ask me. This is bizarro plagiarism.
How bad is this? Mike Francesa, who thinks Twitter is so evil that famous people who use it should be put in jail, even thought Reilly went off the deep end Monday night.
Now that is pretty bad.
No mea culpa from a possibly terrified-inside Reilly on his coveted Twitter account on Tuesday. Just a tweet informing followers that the “Steelers are going to have to adjust to [backup quarterback Byron] Leftwich’s huge arm.”
That same day, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin officially ruled Roethlisberger as “questionable” for the team’s next game at Heinz Field against the division rival Baltimore Ravens, who currently lead the NFC North.
Fear not. The ESPN Minister Of Steelers Information has already ruled Big Ben out.