The anatomy of a trade rumor

The anatomy of a trade rumor
February 16, 2011, 3:31 pm
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By Jon Fucile

For nerds like us, trade deadline season is wonderful. Mostly. We love the anticipation of your team improving and then the inevitable let down when you dreamed too big and all you got was Chris Kelly.

Just kidding, Chris Kelly. Welcome to Boston!

For the NHL and the NBA, trade talks are heating up as the February trade deadlines loom. The rumor hot stove is also heating up, which is just hilarious.

You see every year some blogger or writer, many times multiple bloggers or writers, post some wild trade rumor and it is taken as fact. They do this for a few reasons:

1) They simply want to draw traffic to their site and purposely post bogus rumors
2) They were fed misinformation by their sources
3) Someone heard what they wanted to hear and presented the rumor online as fact.

In this world of Twitter and Facebook and all this technology, any little rumor spreads like wild fire and all of a sudden legitimate sites, in an effort to be one of the first to post this speculation, report it as fact without verifying the rumor.

You can probably see why this would frustrate a GM like Peter Chiarelli. Then he has to field all these calls and emails about bogus rumors he had no idea about and was never actually discussing.

Take for instance the curious case of Marc Savard (prior to his season ending concussion). A rumor popped up a few weeks back that he was unhappy in Boston and wanted to be traded. This rumor spread and some people actually believed it. With the other rumors that the Bruins were looking for a defender, this was some fantasy GMs Christmas.

So how does something like this start?

Well, first it starts on a message board where some kid gets bored and writes something like this:

This prompted some website, who shall remain nameless, to eventually report that Marc Savard had been traded to the Calgary Flames.

Then the internet runs wild for about an hour while this news spreads and people freak out and yell at the Bruins.

Now, it is not only amateur GMs with too much time on their hands who break the internet with bogus rumors. Sometimes those inside the media or those in the press box will report a rumor they heard and that news spreads.

Heres how it happens:

First, some young up and coming writer pretending to have sources and trying to make a name for himherself happens to walk by managements press box and hears Peter Chiarellis muffled voice and presses their ear ever so gently against the door or crawls up on the ceiling to listen in.

At this point, the eager beaver will listen in on Chiarellis phone call.

But because this young reporter is so desperate to break a story, this is what he heard:

Five minutes later, the young reporter is on the Twitter saying BREAKING NEWS: BRUINS IN NEGOTIATIONS TO GET ZACH PARISE FROM DEVILS!

Then poor Peter Chiarelli is eating his pizza and all of a sudden has to handle 80 calls and emails about this trade rumor as his pizza gets cold and lonely. Horrible.

In the meantime the bogus rumor gets Tweeted across the globe and fans work themselves into a frenzy.

Then when the rumors eventually gets proved false, the finger pointing starts and everyone who re-Tweeted the rumor is suddenly yelling at everyone else who reported it as fact. Classic.

So remember kids, this trade deadline season -- and every season -- never, ever believe the Internet.