Well, the Khalil Mack situation certainly has gotten interesting.
No, there really haven’t been any major developments in the holdout of Oakland Raiders star defender Khalil Mack. But as we anxiously await for the two sides to announce that they’ve reached a deal we are being treated to a debate between local and national media over what’s really going on behind the scenes.
If you haven’t been following closely, the long short of it is this: The national media, NFL and NFL Network to be specific, are painting the picture of the Khalil Mack holdout as bleak. Meanwhile, the local media, Vic Tafur and Jerry McDonald to be specific, have been painting a picture of this holdout being more run of the mill than dramatic.
For example, on Tuesday, Ian Rapoport reported that things are looking pretty bleak:
And then, later in the day, Jerry McDonald countered Rapoport’s doom and gloom by continuing to assert that things aren’t nearly as negative as the NFL media are reporting:
And if the contradicting reports weren’t enough, Vic Tafur threw a little commentary in just to make sure everyone understood what the local guys think of the reporting being done by the national guys:
As many have posited, this very well could be a case of the Raiders using local media to get their message out while Khalil Mack and his camp are using the national media to get their message out. But regardless of where the various reporters are getting their information, one thing is clear: The facts of the situation are not clear.
When there are reports that conflict this heavily, it’s hard to give too much weight to either side as it really does appear that the media is being used by those behind the scenes to try and shape the public perception of the negotiations. In reality, it’s highly likely that the truth can be found somewhere in the middle. I think it’s likely that the two sides are pretty far apart and that there hasn’t been nearly as much movement as the Mack camp would like to see. But at the same time, it’s probably true that things aren’t nearly as desperate as Ian Rapoport and the NFL Network are making them out to be.
But regardless of the reality, I must say that the battle for Mack reporting supremacy between local and national media has been a welcome distraction from the fact that the Raiders still haven’t re-signed their best player.
UPDATE: It would appear the debate over what’s going on with Mack is not just a local vs. national media debate. John Middlekauf, who works for the same entity as Vic Tafur, The Athletic, dropped a piece this morning where he too describes the Mack situation in rather dramatic terms. Not only that, he goes on to cite reports from Ian Rapoport as proof he is right.