CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A subplot to the Deflategate saga has been the role of ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who on Jan. 20 reported that 11 of 12 balls used by the Patriots in the AFC Championship game win over the Colts were underinflated by 2 pounds per square inch (PSI).
The information proved incorrect and Mortensen, who cited “league sources” in his tweet, removed his post — but not until August. Now it seems Mortensen may be backtracking on his backtracking.
After earlier saying he should have done a “better job vetting’’ his story, Mortensen, appearing on the Doug & Wolf radio show on 98.7 in Arizona Thursday, said he stands by his original story and said reports “that somebody from the league deliberately leaked balls information to me is so much baloney. It actually is insulting.’’
Mortensen said both sources said it was 11 of 12 balls but that one source said “two pounds” and the other said “significantly underinflated.’’
Mortensen went on to say: “I have had both Krafts, Jonathan Kraft and Bob Kraft, call me and apologize for ah, just the way this thing has gone down.’’
Appearing on the pregame show on 98.5 before Friday’s game against the Panthers, team president Jonathan Kraft contradicted Mortensen’s claim.
“I think that throughout this whole situation a lot of information out there was false,” Kraft said. “We don’t blame the reporters, we blame their sources. We asked the league to correct the misinformation . . . the sources of the misinformation are the only ones that need to apologize. We haven’t [apologized] and we have no need to. Our issue is with the people who were leaking misinformation.’’Jim McBride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org