All player agent Peter Schaffer wants to do tonight is play hockey. He probably wants to negotiate a deal for his client, Brandon Browner, but an hour break for some puck isn't too much to ask.
He alleges a report by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport - a favorite in Pittsburgh - cost him that luxury.
A report by Rapoport surfaced Thursday evening Browner had a deal with the New England Patriots, and Rapoport went live with it. Shaffer was in the middle of an adult hockey game in Denver when the report surfaced, and he immediately called Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio (the obvious choice of who to call if an erroneous report has been filed).
"It’s 100 percent untrue," agent Peter Schaffer told PFT by phone, moments after the report landed on Twitter. "I’ve got four teams to negotiate with. I’ve got irresponsible journalists who don’t check their facts putting this stuff out there, and my phone is blowing up when I’m trying to play hockey... "I’ve got very little patience for irresponsible journalists who put this stuff out and ruin my night," Schaffer said. "My phone is going nuts. I just wanna play hockey."
It really doesn't get much stronger than that, and Schaffer has zero reason to lie. If his client had a deal, he wouldn't have an issue with the news breaking - even if it wasn't from his pre-designated contact (don't think for a second the agents don't have just as much at stake by living up to promises made to certain journalists to be the first to get to a story).
The strength of the words he chose really are the compelling case here. "Irresponsible journalists" is a term loosely thrown around, perhaps regrettably so, but when it's being used by the agent of a player who had been mistakenly reported to have signed with a team, you have to believe it, to some extent.
Rapoport may not be completely at fault here. Rapoport would later Tweet a source close to Browner told him Browner had a deal with the Patriots - perhaps before the puck dropped in Schaffer's Weekend Warriors Cup game. Not to let Rapoport off the hook, but his agent is in a very actionable position if he's playing hockey while his client is destroying his own bargaining leverage by spouting off to former teammates about the deal he just got.
They hire agents for a reason.
Odds seem outstanding Browner is going to end up with the Patriots, and this is really nothing more than a urination contest between Rapoport and Schaffer - a match in which a journalist didn't get a direct source from the decision-makers and an agent who apparently didn't convince his client to shut his mouth until ink hit paper.