In January of 2011 the Miami Dolphins were the heavy favorites to land former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. The national watch was waiting for the axe to fall on Tony Sparano. And then I stepped in.
I was one of the first to report that Tony Sparano had been fired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins and was also one of the first to report that Jeff Ireland and Stephen Ross were heading to San Francisco to hire Jim Harbaugh.
While living in Dallas for many years I got to know some people through my work as a paramedic and one of those people used to work for the Cowboys and was close to Bill Parcells. On the day this happened, someone from Parcell’s group relayed the message to my “source” that Sparano had been fired and was looking for work and that they should keep their ears open. It was relayed to me and the above article happened.
There has only been a handful of times that I have deleted an article but I deleted the article regarding Ireland and Ross. My source was at least right about that but the friction it caused was not something I personally was comfortable with. So I wrote an apology to our readers.
What bothered me the most was the unneeded attention it put on the Dolphins. I would send Jeff Ireland an email apologizing for the mistake as well as Sparano and Steve Ross. Whether they read them or not I don’t know. But I realized that being first in this business is nothing compared to being right.
Breaking the news is not our job, discussing it is. Reporting it is. Since then I leave the breaking to others. It’s the only time in 10 years I came close to quitting.