Once again, a credible sports news outlet has fallen victim to impostor Twitter accounts and the fake news they produce. You might be familiar with the wily Uncle Chaps, whose fake news has even aired live on ESPN, but he wasn't behind this latest ruse.
Instead, the rumors that former Florida defensive back and projected first round pick Vernon Hargreaves III failed a combine drug test were sparked by impostor accounts disguised as ESPN's Adam Schefter and NFL Network's Ian Rapaport. Those rumors continued to spread - and NBC Sports eventually took the bait.
Buying into tweets that, in NBC Sports' defense, looked legitimate, Pro Football Talk found itself caught in the net. But that mistake was quickly followed up with a retraction and an apology.
I apologize for the error. In moving quickly to rectify what I thought was an erroneous observation that there had been no leaks yet of any failed Scouting Combine drug tests, I fell for deliberately false tweets that had been made to look legitimate. The fact that there were two of them from different reporters caused me to erroneously assume the tweets were legitimate. They weren’t.
So, one more time: Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves did not fail his Scouting Combine drug test. Any tweets or reports indicating otherwise are erroneous.
With more of these impostor accounts surfacing each and every day, sports reporters might have to walk on egg shells when pulling news from social media.