Skip to content
Jan 5 / King Kaufman

Rumors vs. speculation: A trade-season review

It’s almost always high rumor season in sports, but some times are a little more rumor intense than others, and we’re in one now. The NHL trade deadline is Feb. 27, the NBA’s is March 15 and the MLB Hot Stove will burn until pitchers and catchers begin reporting around Feb. 18.

That means rumors and speculation are flying, and that means it’s a good time to review the meaning of the words rumor and speculation.

Take a minute to read Copy Chief Dan Bonato’s Textbook entry, Attribution, citing sources and avoiding plagiarism and my post on rumor vs. speculation from last summer.

A quick recap:

  • When you repeat a rumor, source it. Say where it’s coming from and provide a link.
  • Do not repeat unsourced rumors or speculation. See this cautionary tale about a writer making up stories, tweeting them and watching them spread to reputable outlets online.
  • Avoid using unverifiable phrases. Bleacher Report does not use anonymous or personal sources, so “sources say” or “someone close to the situation told me” won’t fly.
  • Do not confuse rumor with speculation. If someone, including you, is arguing that Team A trading Player B to Team C for Player D would be a good move, or that it would be logical for Team A to be shopping Player B, that’s fine. That’s speculation. But a “rumor,” for our purposes at Bleacher Report, is a news story that cites sources, even anonymous ones if they’re cited by a reputable outlet, one with professional editing standards. We don’t start rumors.
  • Be extra clear when differentiating between fact, verifiable rumor and mere speculation. Simple example: “Reporter X at Source Y is reporting that Player Z could soon be on the move.”

Familiarize yourself with B/R’s Attribution Guidelines, and if you still have questions, ask your editor or team leader, ask them in the comments here or drop me a line.