Last Sunday morning, Joe Paterno had died.
Last Saturday night, however, a couple of notable news sources had mistakenly buried him alive.
Onward State, the Penn State newspaper, had erroneously reported that Paterno had died at around 9 PM (ET) on January 21. CBSSports.com had picked up Onward State’s story and posted it on the front page of their website. Only after Paterno family members had began refuting reports of his death, and Onward State had retracted their report, did CBS Sports credit Onward State with the false scoop. The person who had posted the Paterno death story on CBSSports.com was Adam Jacobi.
Before January 21 had turned to January 22, the managing editor of Onward State at the time, Devon Edwards, abruptly resigned. At that point, I had speculated that somebody at CBS would be terminated over this ordeal, most likely Jacobi, a college football blogger on CBSSports.com.
Well, it appears that the other shoe has dropped. CBS did indeed fire Jacobi on Friday for his role in the misreporting of Paterno’s death on the CBS Sports website.
“CBS had to let me go for the Paterno story going out the way it did, and I understand completely,” Jacobi had tweeted on Friday afternoon. He also apologized to “everyone, most importantly the Paterno family” for how his “awesome 17 months with CBSSports.com” had come to a screeching halt.
Look – I never exhibit any glee when somebody loses their job. Because I could easily end up in the same predicament one day. (Disclosure: This blog of mine is not my proverbial “bread and butter”.) In this case, however, CBS Sports had to sever ties with at least one person who was responsible for how the Paterno death story was originally handled – and it was Jacobi. For not only was sheer sports media recklessness on display under his watch that Saturday night, but an utter disrespect for the website’s readers, as well.
Quite frankly, I’m surprised Jacobi lasted another week with CBS Sports. He should have echoed Devon Edwards and stepped down that Saturday night.