The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin says he doesn’t understand the outrage over his much-discussed Nick Caserio column. On Monday, Volin authored a piece with the headline, “The real story in the Patriots-Texans clash: Nick Caserio wants out.” The piece addresses Caserio’s near-departure to the Texans, which resulted in the Patriots filing tampering charges. It is one of the most surprising developments of an otherwise sleepy offseason.
In the article, Volin does not cite any sources nor use source euphemisms such as, “people with knowledge of the situation.” But the Globe’s national NFL reporter does write declaratively about Caserio’s situation. “The real story is this: Nick Caserio wants out of New England,” Volin writes. “Specifically, he wants that Texans job, even though it was more of a lateral move than a true promotion. And to prevent Caserio from leaving, the Patriots had to enforce a clause in his contract and file tampering charges.”
The phrase “Caserio wants out” appears four times in the piece without any qualifiers.
Numerous outlets, including this one, aggregated Volin’s story as a report, though we did mention the story was only appearing in the Globe. In a Houston radio interview Monday, Volin challenged the characterization of his article.
“So I just want to clarify one thing,” Volin said, per CBS Boston. “I’m seeing my column that I just posted a half-hour ago, I’m seeing it being referred to as a report all over the internet. And I don’t think it’s a report. I’m not talking, like, I don’t have direct information from Caserio or his agent. No one’s telling me, ‘Nick wants out.’ What I’m doing is looking at all the facts of the situation and analyzing it and using some logic and common sense to try to tell people what’s going on. And what I think is going on is pretty clear, that Nick Caserio wanted that Texans job, and the fact that the Krafts and the Patriots had to lawyer up and enforce his contract and file the tampering charges against the Texans, it’s pretty clear that Caserio wanted that job and the Patriots are basically enforcing Caserio to play out his contract.”
The explanation from Volin prompted social media outrage from the Patriots’ pitchfork army, which traffics in faux outrage far more than any social justice warrior. Barstool’s Jerry Thornton proclaimed Volin was forced to admit he camouflaged his opinion as a report; NESN’s Doug Kyed called the article “fan fiction.”
It's hard to see why Volin's piece qualifies as fiction. It’s likely Caserio is interested in leaving the Patriots, since, well, he reportedly wanted to take a comparable front office job elsewhere. The Patriots were forced to file tampering charges to keep him.
In a phone conversation with WEEI.com, Volin said he hasn’t seen anybody refute his actual theory.
“I think people are flipping out for no reason. All the people criticizing me haven’t offered a rebuttal of anything I wrote. Refute what I say. If you think I’m wrong, give me proof I’m wrong,” Volin said. “It was a combination of connecting dots and my opinion. I’ve been covering the team for seven years. I talk to guys behind the scenes. … I frankly think the facts of it all clearly speak for themselves. I’m sorry people are flipping out about this. I think it’s obvious.”
This is the second straight year in which the Patriots have prohibited Caserio from heading to Houston. Last year, they blocked Caserio and college scouting director Monti Ossenfort from interviewing for the same position, because their season was still ongoing.