If you're spending your whole Friday looking at sports news on the Internet like you should be, you will see several reports that the Oakland Raiders gave Richard Seymour a five-day ultimatum letter to report for duty.
The Raiders insist these reports are shenanigans. As of lunchtime Friday, though, the Boston Herald reports that Seymour has the ultimatum letter in his hands.
The reports say that the Raiders sent Seymour a "five-day letter," similar to the "three-day letter" I receive every time I get evicted from my apartment. A five-day letter is a statement demanding a player report for duty to the NFL team issuing the letter. If the player does not report within five days of receiving the letter, then he is automatically suspended for the season -- with no pay, and no time counted toward the fulfilling of his contract.
In Richard Seymour's case, that means he would not become a free agent after this season, the final year of his contract. He still has to actually play that last year of his contract for whichever team owns his rights -- your Oakland football Raiders -- before he may negotiate any of those free agent riches. A five-day letter, if not honored, would automatically doink Seymour into a persona non grata for the NFL 2009 season.
This only matters if the letter was sent, and that's not clear right now. Shortly after coach Tom Cable swore up and down Thursday that "I don’t have any knowledge of that (letter being sent) right now," a report came from the Raiders' favorite in-house reporter that the ultimatum letter had been sent.
Raiders play-by-play announcer Greg Papa broke a report Thursday night on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area that the five-day letter had been sent to Seymour earlier in the day, and the clock was ticking on Seymour to report. That report is still available online, except that all of the actual words have since been removed from it. If you left a comment on that story, you should be furious with Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area for this outlandish censorship and violation of your First Amendment rights.
Shortly thereafter, Adam Schefter of ESPN also "broke" the story with "his own sources." Oddly, Schefter's "other sources" seemed to suddenly back off the story the very moment Greg Papa backed off. That's one heck of a coincidence, wouldn't you say, Adam Schefter?
While it is quite amusing to look at Adam Schefter's grinning mug on his Twitter page pic and giggle over how he just got completely burned by ripping off a local beat reporter and claiming the story was his own, it is even more amusing to examine Greg Papa's backing off of his own story that may have been correct in the first place.
Papa explained to David White of the San Francisco Chronicle that it was a "miscommunication... to a co-employee." White said on his Twitter that a "CSNBA kid" misquoted Papa. Jerry McDonald reports in the Oakland Trib that Papa "explained there was a miscommunication with a staff that resulted in him being quoted" incorrectly.
How will Greg Papa un-backtrack if he he actually had it right all along?
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is making a note of all those excuses so he can use them the next time he's not sure whether or not his reporting is accurate.