In a stunning admission this morning on NJ.com, Eagles beat writer Eliot Shorr-Parks published a column apologizing to his readers after he admitted to not attending a single Eagles OTA this season, nor any over his entire journalistic career.
In fact, no sports journalist has ever attended an OTA in the past decade, he claimed.
The veteran journalist admitted to “just hanging out at a bar” for several hours each day with a number of other journalists from various city publications who were supposed to be covering the informal team workouts leading up to July training camp.
“Everything you read about OTAs in any of the newspapers in this city? All made up. Nobody actually goes to them, who would do that?” he wrote in a column published on NJ.com this morning. “We tried to cover them at first, but they’re so boring. Athletes running around in their shorts, playing catch? You try to crank out 1,000 words a day on that bullshit.”
“Where do they even hold OTAs anyways? Clearwater? No, that’s baseball…umm….Lehigh Valley? That sounds about right.”
Shorr-Parks decided to come clean this year, though, claiming he was feeling guilty about lying to his readers.
However, it’s believed he was forced to admit to his scam after accidentally publishing a screen shot from the NES classic “Tecmo Super Bowl” on his Twitter account over the weekend and trying to pass it off as action from OTAs.
“QB Eagles looks great this year! Really working hard on his touchdown celebrations,” Shorr-Parks wrote under the published photo.
“Nobody really seemed to notice, to tell you the truth,” Shorr-Parks said in his column that was published on NJ.com this morning at 8:34 a.m. “I could have said Norm Van Brocklin came back from the dead and took a few snaps under center in the morning session…who’s going to say otherwise? Have you ever been to an OTA? Do you know anyone who has been to one? I didn’t think so.”
Shorr-Parks said he would typically leave the NJ.com offices to “go cover the OTAs” and would head to Fitzy’s Tap and Cap for several drinks with other Philadelphia sports journalists such as Les Bowen, Marcus Hayes, Sam Donnellon and Jeff McLane.
“Les would call it his ‘summer vacation’ and give everyone a big wink and buy us a round each morning,” Shorr-Parks wrote.
Shorr-Parks said he was typically able to get away with not attending OTAs each summer by singling out a player high on the Eagles fans radar and writing column after column about how they were “under performing” and “not having impressive showings” at the voluntary workouts.
“Typically fans would get so pissed off at me and my opinions that they wouldn’t dig too deeply into what I was writing. I thought I was in trouble last year when I wrote three straight columns about Kiko Alonso’s inability to tackle in the open field and completely forgot he was traded to Miami in the off season. Everyone just wanted to yell at me on Twitter, though, so it worked out,” he wrote.
Shorr-Parks apologized for his actions and asked to be placed into Witness Protection for fear of reprisal from his journalist colleagues.