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Ian Rapoport among reporters duped by social media account about a return date for Le’Veon Bell

Online sources are not always what they seem as a number of national sports media outlets discovered on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the exception of Le’Veon Bell and his agent, no one really knows when the running back will return to the Pittsburgh Steelers this season. But for a brief moment on Tuesday afternoon, there were certain members of the national media who believed they had found an insight into Bell’s plans.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network was one of the first to highlight the story, quickly followed by a number of national reporters. A group that included sites like Bleacher Report, Rotoworld and even the Baltimore Ravens editorial manager Ryan Mink.

While even lowly bloggers like myself are always taught to check a source before running with a report, it does not seem that everybody in the industry adheres to the same practice. If they had done, they might have found the pictures were from the original tweeters meeting with Bell back in July, as he had posted on his instagram account at the time.

An online search for the associated articles this fake tweet inspired have since been purged at source by those that wrote them, but as is always the case, the internet does not forget.

For an industry that sometimes seems to rely on unnamed sources to provide insight into the inner workings of the NFL, slip ups like this have to make you wonder where some of the information really does come from after all.