Tanya Ray Fox is our hero.
She managed to pull something off that's so profoundly difficult that it's obviously beyond the abilities of almost everyone working in sports media.
Yesterday, as part of the Saint Louis Live! news update, our buddy Michael Gaines released a very obviously fake story about Jeff Fisher being under consideration for the coaching job at UCLA. It's very obviously fake for any number of reasons, up to and including us explicitly saying it's fake on the show. Don't believe me? Listen for yourself!
And yet, despite that very important clue, social media took off with the follow up tweet.
What started as some very gentle hashtag prodding really got snatched up by the mainstream once Barstool Sports' PFTCommenter and Big Cat got involved.
Barstool was kind enough to even publish a story on the rumor (albeit one written in Big Cat's distinct style), which you can read here.
Once Barstool posted a story, we were off to the races. Mike Freeman? Damien Woody? Ralph Russo? Harry Lyles Jr.? Kevin McGuire? Yahoo's Dr. Saturday? Yes, you got got. All of you. And we didn't even try hard to get you!
Hell, even Diddy got in on the fun! After the hip hop mogul posted a cryptic tweet, Bleacher Report's Natalie Weiner and Mike Tanier managed to tag team some Fisher action.
But then, of course, came our new best friend and most respected journalist, Tanya Ray Fox. Tanya writes for The Rams Wire, a USA Today affiliate site which covers the football team that used to play in St. Louis. Picking up on the deluge of social media activity, Tanya did what any right thinking and responsible person would do and did just a little tiny bit of background research before she tweeted. Here's the story she came up with. As it turns out, it's pretty good. Tanya even joined us on Saint Louis Live! this morning to discuss the obvious absurdity. She's in on the joke, folks!
That should be enough, right? We had some radio fun and then some internet fun, everything was properly debunked, and the world returned to normal. Surely this nonsense wasn't discussed on television. Surely major operations like, say, the NFL Network and ESPN wouldn't spend time on some obviously fake internet bullshit, right?
Oh. Oh no. (Thanks to Podcast One, NFL Network, and ESPN for the audio.)
Ladies and gentlemen, we've made the big time. The Saint Louis Live! news update has officially broken #RealNews that was discussed on the NFL Network and ESPN, distributed via their various streaming channels for audio and video, and disseminated to countless millions of viewers and listeners. I think I speak for all of us at We Are Live! when I say that Rich Eisen himself summed up the situation more eloquently than we ever could.
"Huh?" is right.
Google before you tweet.