NYT ed­i­tor takes blame for tweet on Trump

The Washington Post - - WASHINGTONPOST.COM/SPORTS - BY CINDY BOREN

Pres­i­dent Trump and the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots called out the New York Times for its in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the size of the team’s Su­per Bowl del­e­ga­tions to the White House dur­ing the Obama and Trump ad­min­is­tra­tions.

Photos tweeted by the Times showed a larger group cel­e­brat­ing the 2015 Su­per Bowl vic­tory with former pres­i­dent Barack Obama, with both stair­cases to the South Por­tico filled with peo­ple.

The im­age from the team’s trip Wed­nes­day showed a smaller group be­hind Pres­i­dent Trump.

The Pa­tri­ots rarely of­fer of­fi­cial com­ments, choos­ing to re­main si­lent even af­ter the death ear­lier Wed­nes­day of former tight end Aaron Her­nan­dez. But they clar­i­fied a few things af­ter the tweet was widely shared.

The team tweeted that the photos “lacked con­text” be­cause in 2015, staff mem­bers and play­ers posed.

On Wed­nes­day, those staffers were seated in front of the podium on the lawn.

“Fail­ing @nytimes, which has been call­ing me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie con­cern­ing New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots visit to W.H.,” Trump tweeted just be­fore 10 a.m. Thurs­day.

By mid­morn­ing Thurs­day, Ja­son Stall­man, the Times’ sports ed­i­tor, had taken re­spon­si­bil­ity for the tweet in an email to The Wash­ing­ton Post.

“Bad tweet by me. Ter­ri­ble tweet. I wish I could say it’s com­pli­cated, but no, this one is pretty straight­for­ward: I’m an id­iot. It was my idea, it was my ex­e­cu­tion, it was my blun­der. I made a de­ci­sion in about four min­utes that clearly war­ranted much more time.

“Once we learned more, we tried to fix ev­ery­thing as much as pos­si­ble as swiftly as pos­si­ble and as trans­par­ently as pos­si­ble. Of course, at that point the dam­age was done. I just needed to own it.”

The team pointed out that 36 play­ers were at the White House the last time the team won two Su­per Bowls in three years. On Wed­nes­day, there were 34.

Pa­tri­ots spokesman Stacey James told the Times that Wed­nes­day’s turnout was about the same as when Ge­orge W. Bush was pres­i­dent and hosted the team in 2004 and 2005. James added that more than 45 play­ers at­tended in 2002.

James told the Times that many veterans didn’t see the need to make their sec­ond trip in three years.

Pa­tri­ots owner Robert Kraft has been a Trump sup­porter, and Coach Bill Belichick fa­mously wrote him a sup­port­ive let­ter just be­fore the elec­tion last year.

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