PD Headline Completely Misleading

For any of you who heard Mike Holmgren’s press conference which took place on Thursday, you know one of the hottest topics was the Peyton Hillis contract extension and it’s surrounding debacle. There is no need to go into anything deeper as Craig has dissected it at length yesterday and again this morning.

All of the big hitters in the Cleveland sports media were in the room. Yet, the biggest newspaper in the city, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, managed to completely mislead their readers with their headline in today’s print.

See the picture above.

If you just picked up a paper this morning and read the headline, you’d think that the extension was off the table, the Browns were going to play out the year with Hillis, and then let him walk. In small print below you see “President says team would bid for back.”

I expect something like this from the New York Post, not the PD.

Digging deeper into the actual quotes, you see that the discussions have been tabled for now (“nobody has called off negotiations. No one has said ‘OK, lets wait until the end.'”). Yet judging by the big “HOLMGREN: BROWNS READY TO LET HILLIS BE FREE AGENT” headline, you’d think we had another Manny Ramirez/CC Sabathia/Cliff Lee situation going on, as in the Browns will end the season with him and watch him sign elsewhere.

Now I know those situations are completely different in the NFL since there is a salary cap and franchise player tag, but nonetheless, the headline was completely misleading.  Someone behind the scenes also knew that headline was a mistake.

Yesterday after the press conference, that same bad headline was running at the top of, the PD’s host website. Yet if you checked back about six hours later, that title of the piece had been changed. Check this:

Things have changed in the way we all consume our information. I am the only 35-year-old person (or younger) I know who still gets the newspaper delivered to my house. I don’t know the stats, but I would assume that more people ages 18-35 are reading the PD online than in print. But when you see such a bold headline that is completely misleading like this within the print version, it seems to validate it more, despite the fact that what was said was essentially false.

Just my two cents, but that headline was irresponsible and misconstrued.

  • Chris

    And this junk is why I don’t real the PD sports section. It’s such a rag.

  • Chris


    We wonder why Holmgren doesn’t talk to the home town press. He should have a second press conference where he he just holds that headline up and says “this is why we can’t have nice things”.

  • Nice Chris.

  • NJ

    What a bunch of hacks.

  • NJ

    Did they sit around and decide that the Hillis story is what they’re going to run with, rain or shine? Of all the things to walk away from that presser with, both positive and negative, I don’t see how you deem that headline worthy.

  • Snap

    I never liked the PD

  • oribiasi

    I also still get the PD and I heard the press conference yesterday. So, when I picked up my paper this morning outside my front door I was semi-worried for a few moments.

    I know some writers at the PD (not the fellows who penned that piece) and I fully intend on asking them about this article.

  • mgbode

    Inside the Head of Mary Kay at Holmgren’s Presser:

    Holmgren: Let me conclude with this and then you’ve got more important things to do.

    Mary Kay (thought): I sure do. I have to make sure to portend negativity and panic to the masses.

    Holmgren: This is not rocket science.

    Mary Kay (thought): Is that one of Hillis’ nicknames?

    Holmgren: They’re not giant conspiracy theories.

    Mary Kay (thought): It must have been and there’s a conspiracy involving Hillis. I better go through my notes and figure out which one he is talking about here.

    Holmgren: Those of you that have been at this a long time, it’s kind of cut and dry.

    Mary Kay (thought): It sure is. Obviously, Holmgren is going to let Hillis walk in FA and also is telling Shurmur to limit his carries so that the Browns don’t even get a compensatory pick when he leaves!

  • Cooley Ford

    You mean a newspaper intentionally misled their readers in a transparent, ham-handed attempt to sell more units? Color me shocked.

    Blogs like this one are where I get all my news. The newspaper industry is a (dead) joke.

  • PGP

    That headline got you to read the article, didn’t it? That’s what headlines do, grab your attention. Misleading or not, its true.

    I forget which news source (might have been a ruiter article) ran the “AGENT URGED HILLIS TO SIT OUT DOLPHINS GAME” but its the same thing… misleading headlines grab readers, generate opinion, and get people talking.

  • Vengeful Pat

    I’m developing a man-crush on mgbode. That’s hilarious, and probably borderline truth. That PD headline is sensational, in the negative way… shameful.

  • pepe

    I read the transcript of the presser. I don’t see how this headline is misleading. They are indeed going to let him go to free agency, aren’t they? And then they’ll join the bidding. Isn’t that what Holmgren said? What am I missing?

  • Chris and mgbode are just showing off in this thread…

  • BrownsFanSF

    Craig, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you. Blogs like this keep reporting alive, sports or otherwise. Thank you for intelligent journalism, level headed fact checking and your constant attempts to speak out against irrational reporting. I know it’s just a sports blog (as you remind us so often), but I’m glad to have a voice of reason anywhere in the news these days.

  • Vengeful Pat

    @pepe – no, they are supposedly at an “impasse” right now, but that could change at any moment… Holmgren specifically said they want to sign him and they’re trying to sign him.

  • pepe

    “Now, because of the nature of these types of negotiations and if Peyton has a good year he’ll have opportunities now because you enter into free agency, legitimate free agency. Are we going to be a player in there to try and keep him here? Absolutely, I told him that yesterday.”

    Seems pretty clear to me that he’s at least threatening to let him enter free agency.

  • Vengeful Pat

    I don’t see that as being mutually exclusive from what I said though. Right now, the two sides aren’t close enough to anticipate getting a deal done. I would say Holmgren is not “threatening” anything… he’s going to let Hillis walk if he continues to value himself so much higher than the organization values him. He’s not using it as a threat, he’s just explaining the current situation. If Hillis decides to drop his price, I’m sure Holmgren and Heckert will be right back to trying to get a deal done and prevent Hillis from becoming a free agent.

  • NJ

    I hate any headline that makes use of a colon to attribute some paraphrased goobledyguck to a speaker. Not a direct quote? Then he didn’t say it.

    And yeah, it might sell papers and generate clicks in the short term, but it’s also an easy way to turn readers away. Tactics like this turned me away from a long, long time ago. Same thing with my parents. Beacon Journal is better anyway because it has (or had) old NY Times crossword puzzles.

  • Chip

    tss yeah, it’s like they should let him become an expensive agent or sumthin, tss

  • JM

    Thank God the PD has Pluto still. Everyone else is a hack.

  • The Other Tim

    Thread jack to wish Jerome Harrison well.
    I liked that guy.

  • da -Z-

    This whole fall out about Holmgren talking to a radio station in Seattle makes me realize that some people here in C-town need to get a life. The crying about how he dared to talk to other people except us (the cleveland media) is just pathetic. 92.3 The Fan, WKNR 850, the PD and people actually getting all upset about this are to blame for Cleveland being the laughingstock of the US.

  • I am soooo happy you did this and it goes along with my Holmgren post from today and on NFA here:

    Something needs to change at the PD because they are only losing more and more readers with this type of crap.

  • Shamrock

    People who don’t follow sports or bother to READ or even listen are the kinds of FANS that headlines stir. Much ado about nothing.

  • Big Z


    Dude, I thought I was the only one who thought she was a total nut! Mary Kay, calm down already!! She said that the Browns would be in the Super Bowl within the next five years on The Red Zone 3 weeks ago. REALLY!? REALLY.

    Leave Hillis alone already!