Bryan Curtis of The Ringer has posted a long, in depth profile of Chris “The Father of Deflategate Misinformation” Mortensen, talking about his life, his career, his battle with cancer and of course, Deflategate itself.
There’s a lot to unpack here. But let’s start with the aftermath of Mortensen’s infamous tweet saying 11 of the Patriots 12 footballs in the AFC title game were tested at two pounds per square under the minimum:
After the tweet, a second source, with whom Mort had a better relationship, urged him to adopt a broader description: that the balls were merely “significantly underinflated.” In that tweezers-sized distinction, you could see a preview of the madness that would become Deflategate. Mort told me, “That should have raised the journalist in me to a higher level. I’ve got to ask some more questions here. What are we talking about, 2 pounds under? But, no, I got to get on TV.” He had to be an insider.
In appearances on TV and radio, Mort said he immediately backtracked to the safer ground of “significantly underinflated.” But Mort’s January 20 tweet and ESPN.com story that contained the 2 pounds per square inch number remained uncorrected for more than six months . …
Mort’s cool began to melt only when he started to get a number of death threats. “What bothered me is we’re in an era where if your wife goes onto social media, she basically reads that they want you to die,” Mort said. “Even after I got cancer, I got some death wishes.”
The Mortensens live in Arkansas. But when Mort was working in Bristol, they often stayed in a house they leased in Connecticut. As the Deflategate threats began to pile up, Mort told Micki he didn’t want her traveling to Connecticut anymore. “My job is to protect her,” he said. When Mort himself came to Bristol, he behaved like someone who was living under a public threat. He went straight from the ESPN studio to his home, avoiding restaurants and rarely appearing in public.
Look, I want to be kind to Chris Mortensen since he’s going through the living hell that is cancer treatment. I say with all my heart that I’m rooting for him to crush this disease and die an old man in his bed surrounded by loved ones many, many years from now.
But facts are facts. Mortensen admits here that he knew the information he put out there was pure horsecrap. And he did nothing. Even saying the balls were “significantly underinflated” was a pure lie. For the better part of two years he’s perpetuated the lie, kept the fire burning and continued to throw fresh wood on it like the time he went on Arizona radio to make up a story about Mr. Kraft and Jonathan Kraft apologizing to him.
And now, after the fire of falsehoods has finally burned itself out, he’s trying to kick around the embers and claim he didn’t correct the fake story because he’d said it on television? Bull. One hundred percent, Grade A, USDA Choice bull.
Secondly, while we’re on the subject of lies, I have a question about these “death threats” he’s implying came from Patriots fans. Who issued them? When? What did they say exactly? What happened when he told the police?
I mean, you can’t just casually throw out there that “Yeah, I people from New England saying they were going to come kill me and my wife. I was a big enough deal that we rearranged our lives, stopped traveling, looked over our shoulders and lived in fear. But what are ya gonna do? That’s those wacky Pats fans for ya.” That’s a big claim. One that smears the fans of an entire region as deranged, homicidal lunatics and deserves verification. But this Bryan Curtis doesn’t ask for it and Mortensen doesn’t provide it.
Then again, when it comes to publishing lies that can’t be backed up with any proof whatsoever, no one has anything on Chris Mortensen. Get well soon, Mort. But for God’s sakes, quit making up stories.
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