Herbstreit should be suspended
BATON ROUGE - I have a question. What is Kirk Herbstreit's job status?
If I had done what he did over the weekend, I would likely not be writing for this company right now.
ESPN's Herbstreit threw the biggest interception of his career last Saturday when he said Les Miles was going to be the next coach at Michigan. He wasn't making a prediction. He reported it.
Almost immediately afterwards, I heard from a well-known sports agent who said the story was not true. Agents talk to one another. Someone from LSU also assured me it was not true and never was true. There was no "dated" aspect to Herbstreit's story. It was never true.
Apparently, Herbstreit went with what one source told him. You can't ever do that unless that one source is someone like Les Miles telling you that Les Miles is going to be the next coach, and even then I would still get another source. Even if your singular source is excellent and proven, as a reporter you have to vet the information with other sources just in case. Because singular sources can lie or stretch to carry out their agenda. This happened when Miami reporters made several mistakes regarding Nick Saban's move from LSU to the Miami Dolphins. A major agent source was putting out bad information for his client's benefit, and Miami reporters went with it.
Herbstreit is a great sports anchor. He knows the game. He's very knowledgeable. He also is such a star that he could probably get just about anyone on the phone.
That's where he blew it. He needed to make more calls.
According to LSU officials, Pat Forde, a real reporter at ESPN and one of the best anywhere, was prepared to go with an accurate story Saturday morning that LSU was in fact about to announce that Miles was staying at LSU and would address it in detail after the game. But for some reason the accurate story did not make it onto ESPN, while the wrong one did.
When Miles said at a press conference before the game Saturday that he was indeed staying, Herbstreit tried to scramble. And he made another mistake. He said LSU suddenly threw together a contract offer to Miles after his "report" aired. WRONG.
As I wrote Friday in my column that appeared Saturday, Miles was speaking to LSU officials on Thursday and Friday nights and had considered saying at a press conference on Friday that he was staying.
Miles spoke with LSU Board of Supervisors member Charles Weems late Friday night, and at that time Miles reached an agreement on new amendments to his existing contract. According to Weems and some LSU players, Miles was never going to Michigan.
He did not make his decision on Saturday. He just announced it.
Herbstreit needs to admit he was wrong about everything concerning his reporting on Miles. And he needs to be off the air for a week or so. Every time his face has been on camera since, it's embarrassing to what is a great network. If he remains on air, he should at least put one of Corso's mascot masks on, because that's about how much credibility he has now.
ESPN has many great reporters. What it needs to do is let its reporters do the reporting and its anchors only anchor.