Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson did not punch quarterback Mitch Trubisky in the face. Johnson said that. Trubisky said that. And now the man who started the rumor has said it. 93.7 The Fan radio host Andrew Fillipponi acknowledged on the air yesterday that he was the source of the rumor and that he was wrong.
“I take 100 percent responsibility and blame for what happened here”, he said, recounting how it came to be that a member of the national media related and broadcasted a story describing the Pro Bowl wide receiver punching his quarterback in the face. He said that he has a meal with that individual and told him about the incident that was reported, but he went too far in his description.
“I take blame because I think the way that I said it to him mischaracterized the altercation”, he said. “Looking back on it, I definitely made it sound a lot worse than it was, so that’s on me”. He reiterated that he could “see why” his friend would come out and say Johnson punched Trubisky based on what he had said and doesn’t blame him for doing so.
This, of course, fits perfectly in line with Fillipponi’s radio personality, because he’s long shown himself to be someone who’s willing to say just about anything for the purpose of putting together a show and isn’t bashful about being inaccurate for, perhaps, entertainment purposes. And he was trying to entertain his friend. And now he wants to make it right?
“I’m gonna have to find a way to reach out to Johnson, because I don’t want his reputation to be that he punched the Steelers’ quarterback in the face”, he said, “because now I’m getting from people that that’s not how it happened, so I have to do a mea culpa”.
That begs multiple questions. For starters, what was he told that led him to characterize the incident in such a way that one would deduce that a punch was thrown? Secondly, who is he talking to in the first place that is telling him things that leads him to describe things in that way?
It wouldn’t be shocking to find out that he needs to find himself more reputable sources. He regularly Tweets about things he’s “heard” that come to absolutely nothing and which are frequently nonsense, and then he does an hour about it on his radio show.
Fillipponi said that he can’t reach out to Johnson directly because he’s blocked on social media (shockingly), but I’m not sure the wide receiver would have any good reason to listen to his apology at this point.
One wonders if Fillipponi’s biggest regret isn’t that he was the cause of this controversy, but rather that he didn’t cause the controversy on his own show instead.