Melvin Gordon's holdout has faded into the background of the news cycle after the start of the NFL season, especially given his replacement, Austin Ekeler, has played quite well in his absence. He re-entered the wider football audience purview on Wednesday morning, when it was reported Gordon planned on returning to the team on Thursday.
This news did not come from the usual suspects, however. Neither Adam Schefter or Ian Rapoport had this scoop. It came from Branson Wright, a multimedia journalist for The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
This report was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, which is fair, given the report concerning the Los Angeles Chargers came from a Cleveland-based paper. But shortly afterwards, Schefter all but confirmed Wright's reporting, although he did not mention Wright in his tweet. Rapoport, on the other hand, quote-tweeted Wright's original report and said his sources confirmed it was a possibility.
While it remains to be seen if Gordon will report tomorrow, Wright can, at the very least, take credit for the scoop that Gordon's holdout was nearing its end. How does a multimedia journalist from Cleveland get insider info on a holdout in Los Angeles? The Big Lead reached out to Wright to ask that very question.
Wright has spent over 20 years in this industry covering everything from basketball to boxing as a jack-of-all-trades, and used to be a part of the Browns' coverage team. Now, he only covers the Browns on gameday-- specifically, doing sidebar segments outside of the visitor's locker room. Wright told The Big Lead that the time he's spent in visiting locker rooms allowed him to develop sources based around the league.
"Just doing my job," said Wright. "You get information as a journalist... There was some other information that I wasn't able to break because someone else broke it already. When I was given this information a couple of days ago, I did some homework and went with it."
While Rapoport gave Wright his due, the biggest insider in the business, Schefter, did not. When asked, Wright didn't seem too bothered by the lack of credit.
"It goes with the territory. You put something on Twitter, and I'm sure they started doing their homework and got information from their sources", said Wright. "I'm not the guy that [says], 'I'm first and I own it and everyone else is wrong'. We're all reporters. Do your job and stories break and you go back."
The scoop business in major American sports is generally dominated by a few top-tier media personalities-- Schefty and Rapsheet, Woj and Shams, etc. To see someone like Wright, generally unknown outside the state of Ohio, get ahead of reporters like that, and later have it confirmed by those same reporters is a rare occurrence. But it goes to show that insider info is a matter of building connections and, of course, getting a bit lucky.