According to email exchanges filed as exhibits in a court case by WFT owner Dan Snyder in June of this year, Schefter emailed Allen an unpublished draft of a story he’d co-authored about the NFL. Referring to Allen as “Mr. Editor,” he sought Allen’s feedback on the story. It is generally considered an ethical violation to provide sources with the full draft of an unpublished article, even for fact-checking purposes.
ESPN stood by Schefter in a statement shared with CNN Business.
“Without sharing all the specifics of the reporter’s process for a story from 10 years ago during the NFL lockout, we believe that nothing is more important to Adam and ESPN than providing fans the most accurate, fair and complete story,” ESPN’s statement reads.
“I’ve learned for a long time in this business not to discuss sources, or the process, or how stories are done,” Schefter said. “But I would just say that its a common practice to run information past sources. And in this particular case, during a labor intensive lockout that was a complicated subject that was new to understand. I took the extra rare step to run information past one of the people that I was talking to. You know, it was an important story to fans; a host of others, and that’s the situation.”
The apparent violation of journalistic ethics prompted criticism among journalists, including former ESPN host Jemele Hill.
— CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed reporting.